I am a Ghanaian resident in the United Kingdom. I recently experienced a shocking incident at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) and wish to alert the authorities that an old problem which people believe has been taken care of has resurfaced, and evidently with vengeance.
On November 5, 2012, I arrived at the airport at about 9.15 p.m. for a visit. After waiting for more than an hour for my second suitcase, I decided to search the Arrival Hall to see whether it had been taken off the carousel by mistake. To my shock and horror, I found the suitcase dumped on the floor nearby, with some of its contents lying around it.
The lock had been removed, the suitcase forced open and looted. Items, including four new mobile phones entrusted in my care to be delivered to others had been stolen. A pair of shoes, clothing, and other personal items were also missing.
Later, I learnt that four other passengers on the same flight also had their luggage tampered with and various items stolen.
My observation is that security is virtually non-existent at the Arrival Hall. Individuals from outside are able to enter the Arrival Hall to assist friends and relatives put their luggage on to the trolleys. Furthermore, porters are allowed in the hall to tout for work.
For the past eight years, I have always spent my annual holidays in Ghana and have never had cause to complain about security of property. To emphasise this point, arriving home last year on a similar flight, one of my suitcases was left behind in London but was delivered the next day intact.
However, since my arrival this year, I have heard stories of similar bad experiences at the airport. It seems victims, like me, are not supposed to expect any help from the authorities. Moreover, nothing is said or done to make victims feel that they should have confidence in the airport authorities. Clearly, we are not encouraged to feel that anything is being done to apprehend the thieves.
In fact, when I went to make a, complaint before leaving the airport, I was told that it was my fault that items such as the mobile phones were stolen because I should have put them in' my hand luggage! Apart from the trauma of losing things in what is supposed to be a secure area, one other concern is that in this era when airports everywhere are under tight security for obvious reasons, it is very strange and disturbing that security at the KIA is so lax.
The airport is the gateway into the country and my experience there does not present a good image of our country. However, I believe that it is a 'small group of people who are committing the thefts and so I hope that by using your newspaper to highlight the problems at the airport, the authorities will sit up and take the necessary measures to tighten security there and also weed out the thieves.