Ghana has given citizenship to 126 foreign nationals who have been residents of the country for many years. This was done in the cause of the country’s Return Year celebrations.
Clothed in bright traditional outfits and bearing the national flag of the country last week Wednesday, the soon to be nationals raised their hands as they took their oath of loyalty and became citizens of the country.
President Nana Akufo-Addo said the new citizens are joining a generation of diasporans, including civil rights activist William Edward Burghardt “W.E.B.” Du Bois and American poet Maya Angelou who resided in the country.
“I am glad you have decided to make Ghana your home and thereby join several generations of Diasporans, who committed their lives to us,” the president said in a statement.
The event is part of the series of activities planned this year in celebration of Ghana’s Year of Return, marking 400 years since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in North America.
The campaign which commenced in 2018, urges people of African descent, whose ancestors had been the victims of the horrific slave trade, to return to Ghana.
The government has been actively promoting its slave sites to African diasporans who may want to trace their origins. Akufo-Addo said that Ghana was home to an estimated 75% of the slave dungeons on Africa’s west coast and the country acknowledges its role.
In these dungeons, people were enslaved and then shipped as part of transatlantic trade from Ghanaian ports.
“That is why we had a responsibility to extend a hand of ‘welcome back home’ to Africans in the diaspora. Many have responded to this call,” President Akufo-Addo said, He further stated that the initiative has been a learning experience for all.
Ghana has laws such as the 2000 Right of Abode law that permits people of African descent to apply for the right to stay in the country indefinitely, while in 2007, the Joseph Project was launched. It is aimed at encouraging Africans in the diaspora to return. In 2016, 34 African-Caribbeans were made national of Ghana.