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We 'Have Always Cooperated,'—Ghana Responds to US Visa Sanctions

The Ghanaian government has refuted claims that it failed to cooperate with US authorities regarding the deportation of Ghanaian nationals.

UPDATE 2/4/19:

Ghana's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has released an official statement in response to the Department of Homeland Security's recent implementation of visa sanctions, which are set to go into effect today, according to news site Ghana Web, and will limit the issuance of visas to "domestic employees of Ghanaian Diplomats hosted in the US."

The Ghanian government has refuted the claims of the US authorities, claiming in a statement released on Friday that the country "has always cooperated with the US authorities in the processing and removal of Ghanaian citizens who have been cited for deportation from the US to Ghana."

The Ministry also expressed disappointment at the claims of the US government. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration notes with concern and disappointment the decision of the United States authorities to implement visa sanctions on Ghana for alleged lack of adequate cooperation in accepting Ghanaian nationals who have been ordered removed from the United States,"

You can read the full response from the Ghanaian government below.

Continue for last week's story:

The United States' Department of Homeland Security has imposed visa sanctions on Ghana, accusing the country of failing to cooperate in accepting its deported nationals back from the United States.

"Ghana has failed to live up to its obligations under international law to accept the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States," said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a statement on Thursday.

"The United States routinely cooperates with foreign governments in documenting and accepting US citizens when asked, as appropriate, as do the majority of countries in the world, but Ghana has failed to do so in this case," she added.


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has ordered consular officers in Ghana to put an issuance restriction on "certain categories of visa applicants." The specific classifications of visas that are to be restricted were not mentioned in the statement.

"Without an appropriate response from Ghana, the scope of these sanctions may be expanded to a wider population. The sanctions will remain in place until the Secretary of Homeland Security notifies Secretary Pompeo that cooperation on removals has improved to an acceptable level," the statement continued.

The statement did not list the number of those facing deportation, but according to Face2Face Africa, there are about 7,000 Ghanaians awaiting deportation from the U.S.

Given the current administration's abysmal track record on immigrant issues, the move to place sanctions on Ghana appears to some, as yet another showing of its harmful anti-immigrant attitudes—as well as bias against African countries, which Trump infamously referred to as "shitholes" in January of last year.

Ghanaians and international obsevers are responding to the news online. Here's what some are saying:




The 20 Essential Olamide Songs

We dive into the Nigreian star's discography to bring you the 20 Essential Olamide Songs.

Let's get something clear: no Afropop act outdid Olamide in the 2010s, and even fewer can claim to match the sheer weight of his cultural influence. By all metrics, the 31-year-old musician reigned supreme over the sonic zeitgeist of the last decade, musically encapsulating, more than anyone, Nigerian music's trudge from fascination with Western-tinged music to the mass appeal of afrobeats.

Rising from Bariga, Baddo first punctured mainstream consciousness with his belligerent bars that positioned him as an upstart with a point to prove before going on to hold the gaze of a generation with anthemic offerings that distilled conceptual narratives on hedonism, life in Lagos, and forces that moved culture into multiple hits singles.

All this was done while maintaining a level of output that is unprecedented in Nigerian pop. From 2011 to 2017, Olamide put out at least one project every year while guesting on an uncountable number of songs that lasered his identity on contemporary Nigerian popular culture and ensured his music was always on rotation.

Carpe Diem, his 2020 album, marked the next step in the evolutionary arc of Olamide's career, easing him into elder statesman territory musically – and providing further proof of what a gifted musician Olamide is.

In honor of Olamide's career, we delved into his discography to bring you The 20 Essential Olamide Songs.

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Photo courtesy of AYLØ.

Interview: AYLØ Bridges His Music & Universe In the 'Clairsentience' EP

The Nigerian artist talks about trusting your gut feelings, remedying imposter syndrome and why our identity is best rooted in who we are, rather than what we do.

AYLØ's evolution as an artist has led him to view sensitivity as a gift. As the alté soundscape in the Nigerian scene gains significant traction, his laser focus cuts through the tempting smokescreen of commercial success. AYLØ doesn't make music out of need or habit. It all boils down to the power of feeling. "I know how I can inspire people when I make music, and how music inspires me. Now it's more about the message."

Clairsentience, the title of the Nigerian artist's latest EP, is simply defined as the ability to perceive things clearly. A clairsentient person perceives the world through their emotions. Contrary to popular belief, clairsentience isn't a paranormal sixth sense reserved for the chosen few, our inner child reveals that it's an innate faculty that lives within us before the world told us who to be.

Born in 1994 in Benin City, Nigeria, AYLØ knew he wanted to be a musician since he was six-years-old. Raised against the colorful backdrop of his dad's jazz records and the echoes of church choirs from his mother's vast gospel collections, making music isn't something anyone pushed him towards, it organically came to be. By revisiting his past to reconcile his promising future, he shares that, "Music is about your experiences. You have to live to write shit. Everything adds up to the music."

Our conversation emphasized the importance of trusting your gut feelings, how to remedy imposter syndrome and why our identity is best rooted in who we are, rather than what we do,

This interview has been edited for purposes of brevity and clarity.

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Bobi Wine and His Wife Released from House Arrest

Ugandan politician Bobi Wine and his wife Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi have been released from a near two-week military house arrest following a recent ruling from a Ugandan court.

Bobi Wine and his wife Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi have reportedly been released from house arrest after the military surrounded their residence almost two weeks ago, Al Jazeera reports. The house arrest began shortly after the highly contested national elections of January 14th which saw the 76-year-old Yoweri Museveni winning a sixth term as president of the country. However, a Ugandan court recently found the opposition figure's house arrest to be "unlawful" which subsequently led to the withdrawal of security forces from his residence, according to The Africa Report.
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