It’s a brilliant Monday afternoon. I accept beneath my armpit a amber envelope and continuing a few yards from the big aboideau that serves as an aperture to the aerial walls surrounding the Authorization Appointment at Ridge in Accra. All about me, dozens of bodies stand- with eyes anchored to the huge aboideau as admitting a saviour will anon arise and admission them salvation.
More bent adolescent bodies fabricated up of mostly men accept apprenticed advanced and continuing infront of the gate. Some actual frustrated, attending like they will advance bottomward the aboideau afterwards cat-and-mouse for hours after any absorption from any official here.
I attending for addition – an official of this abode to accomplish enquires about how I can abide an appliance forms for the face-lifting of my passport. Everyone actuality looks like a client. In the blubbery crowd, some of the adolescent men absolved up to bodies and batten to them in hushed voices.
Passport agents! They are transacting businesses.
As I angle apprehensive what to do, an old acquaintance approaches me. He is actuality to abide authorization forms too. He had already contacted one “big man” central the offices afore advancing here. He calls the big man on the buzz to active him of his arrival. Soon, the big man emerges from the gate- as bodies cat-and-mouse alfresco advance advanced to access the office. They are angrily pushed aback by addition from central afore the aboideau was bankrupt again.
The big man seems to be in his sixties. He gives his name as Baba. Baba examines my friend’s forms and accessories and acclaimed they were not complete. “You accept to go and get a biometric bearing affidavit afore we can talk. This one is not accustomed here”, he declares.
My acquaintance moves out of the chain in disappointment. I beam in the eyes of Baba as I duke him my envelope. Everything is intact. “Your own is biometric. You accept to pay 300 Ghana Cedis because it is a lot of work”, he announces matter-of-factly. I attending at his face. I appetite to acquaint him this is not allowed. I accept already paid 50 Ghana Cedis for the forms at the coffer as appropriate and I accept a cancellation as proof. I am aloof actuality to abide my forms and delay for 3 weeks to accept my candy passport. At least, that is what the law says. But at this juncture, I didn’t anticipate I had any added choices than to delving further. Eventually he said I should rather pay GHC250.
“just booty my cardinal from your acquaintance and accord me a call,” he said and aished abaft the gate.
I wait. Thinking. Annihilation comes forth. Do I go get money and acknowledgment or carelessness my mission of renewing the passport? I accept to appointment the added authorization appointment in the affection of Accra a the Tema Station.
This appointment is housed in a huge architecture with a bank and, thankfully, an opened aboideau for all to enter. I am aflame aloft acumen I don’t accept to advance and boost to accomplish an entry.
Inside, I accommodated a crowd. Added advancing than those at the added office. These ones are shouting at anniversary other. Some analytical through windows. Others sit on benches and chairs.
There is no aegis man at the aboideau to absolute me. There is no reception. And there is no Enquiry Desk. I airing anxiously amid the people. No one cares about anybody. There is no anatomy cutting a name tag that I can access for advice on anything.
In actuality the abode looks like a market.
I assuredly accomplish it through the crowd. Observing as I go along. Hoping addition would airing up and ask my mission. I achievement additionally that there would be a signage about administering me as to which way to go accept my apropos addressed. But annihilation happens.
I waded through to the aback of the building. A bigger army is aggregate here. Some talking discretely to agents (Goro Boys as they are called) who are allowance them ample out their forms. Twice or thrice, I see money barter hands.
I apprehend one adult in accurate is actual accepted here.
“I appetite to renew my authorization but I don’t apperceive what the action is. Can you abetment me please?” I say to her as she approached.
She grabs my envelope. Studies the anatomy briefly and says to me in what assume like a apposite tone, “I will advice you. It will booty some time because I accept to go to the arch appointment and appeal for your anatomy to be released. I will go there tomorrow and get it done for you. Back I finish, you will array me out.”
I booty her cardinal and she anon disappears into the building.
As I airing out and replayed the 60 abnormal or so interaction, I achieve on one thing,
I HAVE BEEN DUPED!
I birr aback in. I delay for aing to 5 account but she will not appear. I asked addition to alarm her out.
“Pardon my asking, but are you a agents actuality or you are an agent, I don’t appetite to accord with an agent.”
“Oh, are you afraid? I assignment here. I’m National Service personnel. I will advice you,” she reassures me afore walking aback into the office.
This is the aforementioned ability I visited some 5 years ago to administer for my passport. There was adjustment at the time. The aegis cadre were about to assist. Aural a few hours, I was done with the action and as promised, I got my authorization in 3 weeks.
I don’t apprehend that accident actuality this time. To activate with, I’m not alike abiding my forms are in the appropriate hand. I can’t agreement the aegis of my abstracts and I absolutely can’t acquaint back my renewed authorization will be ready- if it anytime is at all.
Weak systems actuality actualize allowance for corruption. If you are balked by the queue, you attending for the accessible way out- allurement some body. It could be an abettor or an official. It doesn’t absolutely matter. You aloof accept to allotment with money.
A authorization is a aegis certificate whose processing allegation go through anchored and austere steps. The media consistently carries letters of Ghanaian passports authoritative their way into the easily of bodies who aren’t able to authority them. But with what I see here, that doesn’t amount any longer. These bodies here, some accept to biking in beneath than a week. So they pay 100 Ghana Cedis for accurate processing. But like a addition said on one of the radio stations in Accra, one has to acquiesce for at least, 2 weeks to the accepted date of collection.
Is addition advisedly creating the anarchy actuality so they can accelerate agents amid the army to blackmail money? In whose absorption is it not to accept the burst bottomward machines anchored for quicker processing of the passports?
Isn’t the accompaniment accepting abundant money from the citizens to ensure an alike action at this so alleged aegis installation?
From what I see here, accepting a authorization is as accessible as it is difficult and addition absolutely wants to see this abide to happen. In the end, the also-ran is a baby country in West Africa alleged Ghana.
There is a accomplished government Ministry in allegation of processing passports. There are dozens of bodies paid by the tax payer’s money to ensure these things assignment well. But they don’t. And the administrator cares less.
After all, the administrator can access a adept authorization aural hours while sitting in the abundance of his comfortable office.
By: Umaru Sanda Amadu/citifmonline.com/Ghana
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