Ghana’s Immigration Service will automatically disqualify women with bleached skin, stretch marks and surgery cuts from its ongoing recruitment process, the agency’s spokesman told BBC Pidgin.
Michael Amoako-Attah said the selection criteria was necessary to ensure the staff’s safety and wellbeing:
If you have bleached skin or surgical marks on your body during training exercises you may incur some bleeding and that wouldn’t help or augur well for the safety of the applicant, because we have seen it before and as much as possible we should avoid re-occurrence.”
Men sporting dreadlocks will also be excluded. The government body says it had received 84,637 applications to fill 500 posts. It says 47,477 have been shortlisted for the second stage. Applicants had to pay 50 Ghanaian Cedi ($11; £8) which earned the agency $880,000.
A Twitter user has called it extortion and appealed for President Nana Akufo-Addo to intervene:
Your Excellency @NAkufoAddo kindly pay attention to what the Ghana Immigration Service has done. They sold out 84,000 forms and are only recruiting 500. Is that fair?? Extorting GHS4.2m from the Graduate Unemployed Youth with ease.
I humbly seek answers !
— Benjamin Lumumba (@SikaDwumfour) January 4, 2018
This is not the first time a state agency has discriminated against women based on their appearance. Other security agencies, such as the armed forces, have disqualified women for having what they considered to be big breasts and buttocks.
Some MPs in Ghana have urged disqualified applicants to take their complaints to court.