Nigerian traders in Ghana lament closure of shops

Posted by Precious Igbonwelundu | 30 July 2019 | 683 times

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• Nigerian President Buhari and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo

Nigerian traders in Ghana have decried the frequent closure of their shops by Ghanaian nationals in disregard for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) free trade treaty.

The outcries followed last week’s shutdown of over 30 shops in Accra, Ghana’s capital city which took over 48 hours to be reopened.

Lamenting the alleged mistreatment, the traders said they have been made to suffer huge losses each time their business outlets were shut down by locals.

They said whenever they reported the action to the local police, their tormentors would stop for a while only to return much later fiercer.

According to the National President, Nigerian Union of Traders in Ghana Mr. Chukwuemeka Nnaji, the government of Ghana had not shown enough commitment towards the ECOWAS free trade treaty.

He said should they have, Ghanaians would not continue to torment Nigerian traders out of sheer jealousy, adding that other foreign nationals were not being hounded.

Nnaji, who spoke on behalf of the traders during a visit of the Nigerian community in Ghana to the two NN ships that were in the country for the 60th anniversary of the Ghanaian Navy, said over 400 shops were earlier closed at Kumasi and reopened, following the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He appealed to the President to speak with his Ghanaian counterpart for a lasting solution to the problem, adding that if Ghanaians no longer want Nigerians in their country they should come out openly and say so.

He said: “We have had the issues with the Ghanaian traders for a very long time. The issue is just that they do not want us to stay in Ghana to do business. They want us to go back home.

“They found out that we are in the minority and they want to attack us all the time. The last attack was last Monday; over 30 shops were closed in Accra. We negotiated and we were able to open it on Wednesday.

“We called the police and they came in and talked to the locals. There is no reason. It is just that we are Nigerians living in Ghana and doing our businesses. We have this issue in all the regions even in Accra we have about three flashpoints including where phones and accessories are sold.

“It is done by the locals not the government. The locals do not know how to compete favourably. They resort to jealousy against Nigerian traders.

“In this particular place where they closed Nigerian traders’ shops, we have just about 30 or 40 outlets out of thousands. There are Chinese, Lebanese trading there as well but they didn’t attack their shops. It was only Nigerians.

“They keep threatening us. Sometimes, they will give Nigerian traders two weeks or week notice to quit. You can wake up one morning and they tell you not to open your shop for business.

“Thankfully, the traders have been peaceful. They have been following the matter peacefully despite being provoked to retaliate, we have continued to appeal to them not to.

“But the sad thing is that the government of Ghana is not doing enough to stop the locals from attacking us. When the police arrest them, they do not prosecute them. If they were being arrested and prosecuted, the locals will stop taking the laws into their hands.

“We are finding it difficult to understand the body language of the law enforcement agencies and the government. Sometimes it seems they are with us but in reality, it seems they are against us.

“I know the government has the power to stop this in 10 minutes if they so wish to. The government of Nigeria should prevail on Ghana to make the locals respect the ECOWAS treaty.

“If it is not working, they should tell us so that we can return to our own country. We do have a home and should not be treated as people who don’t.

“Our government cannot continue to be pumping huge money in the name of ECOWAS whereas; we are being attacked all over.” (The Nation)

Source: News Express

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