The Nigerian traders in Ghana are calling for immediate evacuation from the country as a result of the closure of their shops for about a year.
There has been incessant shut down of Nigerian owned businesses in Ghana. More than 400 businesses owned by Nigerians have been closed by Ghanaian authorities.
The reason for such move was because the foreign retailers violated section 27 of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865, which declares that ‘the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place,’ must be reserved only for Ghanaian citizens, according to the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).
Although, there were claims that the action was in response to the decision of the Nigerian government to close its borders. GUTA also commented on the closure of Nigeria’s trade borders with its neighbors. The group stated that such action contradicted the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) treaties. They added that such action by the Nigerian government has nullified the entire ECOWAS treaty on the free movement of people and goods.
The land border closure was reported to have affected Ghana’s trade on a wide scale. GUTA disclosed that about 100 goods belonging to Ghanaians were locked up in Nigeria. They also stated that many Ghanaian traders were stuck inside the country with tons of goods that ought to be transported through Benin by road.
Before the trade rift, the Federal Government of Nigeria ordered the complete closure of the Nigerian border until the establishment of an agreement with neighboring countries on the kind of goods that should enter and exit Nigeria. The FG also instructed that all goods must only enter through the legitimate air and seaports after thorough scanning had been done and it had been certified fit for consumption.The Nigerian Government disclosed in September 2020 that it will explore all diplomatic options in resolving the trade rift.
However, there has been an urgent call for immediate evacuation has been given to the Federal Government by the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG).
The President of National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), Dr Ken Ukoaha, led the delegation alongside the president of NUTAG and other members of the association. Both parties presented a ‘Save-Our-Souls (SOS) letter to Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM). The major request was for the safe movement from Ghana to Nigeria, given intimidations and harassment meted out to the traders by the Ghanaian government.
In the same way, the Nigerian traders revealed that the Ghanaian government had closed down their shops for about a year. The NANTS president, Dr. Ukaoha, lamented on the trader’s plight saying,
‘Nigerian traders in Ghana are being tortured, intimidated, harassed, apart from being subjected to all manners of frustrations by the government and people of Ghana since 2007.’
Dr. Ukaoha, further, disclosed that some traders had borrowed money from banks to transact business but have not been able to return payment. He also added that some goods are already expired. He maintained that ‘since all diplomatic niceties at the highest level between Nigeria and Ghana have not yielded positive results,’ the traders need to be evacuated to Nigeria.
Receiving the news, NIDCOM Chairman, Honorable Dabiri-Erewa expressed grief over the closure of the trader’s shops for a long period stating that such extreme circumstance is in contrast with ECOWAS Protocols of free trade, and movement of goods and services.
She, however, appealed for peace and urged traders not to yield to violence, she stated that necessary provisions would be made as they continue to engage with relevant stakeholders. She assured the traders that their message would be delivered to the appropriate authorities and the process would be carried out with a sense of urgency in order to bring about a lasting solution.
Photo Credit: Sundiata Post and AllAfrica.com