• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Anger, concerns as FG delays action on Nigerian traders groaning in Ghana

Nigerian traders in Ghana

Anger and concerns have continued to mount as the federal government seems to watch unconcernedly as Ghanaian government authorities deal mercilessly with Nigerian traders in that West African country over what has been described as an atrocious law on business registration.

Ghanaian Trade and Commerce Act demands that foreigners wanting to set up business in the country must pay $1 million. Most, if not all, of the traders say they cannot pay this fee because they cannot afford it, leading to the closure of their shops by Ghana government tax masters.

Besides locking up their shops, some of these traders were alleged to have been subjected to indecent and inhuman treatments, fueling condemnation and pleas to Nigerian government to do something urgently.

Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State has, in a tweet on Tuesday, urged the federal government to take interest in the plight of the Nigerian traders in Ghana who are crying for help.

“The cries of Nigerians for help must never go unnoticed. The allegations by Nigerian traders that Ghanaian authorities are high handed in their dealings with them deserve the attention of our government. In the spirit of African integration, both nations need one another,” Obi wrote on his Twitter handle.

In the same vein, Dele Momodu, the publisher of popular Ovation Magazine, in an interview in Lagos, called on the Nigerian government to intervene urgently to save the Nigerian traders in Ghana.

The visibly angry publisher who spoke extensively on the cordial bilateral relations that had existed between Nigeria and Ghana dating back to the days of Kwame Nkrumah, urged President Muhamaadu Buhari to send a strongly worded message to President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, telling him that enough was enough.

Momodu described the demand for $1 million for business registration from the traders as outrageous, noting that it is never done anywhere in the world. He said that he was alarmed over the allegation some of the traders were beaten, describing that action as an affront on Nigeria.

Though he described what is happening in the country as competition and not envy, Magnus Ejiofor, a Nigerian trader in Ghana, differed. He told BusinmessDay that the Ghanaians are simply jealous of their Nigerian counterparts.

“These people are jealously of us. They are greedy. An average Ghanaian trader likes to make a lot of profit. Unlike his Nigerian counterpart who would sell with just N1000 profit, a Ghanaian trader would insist on selling what he bought at N5000 for N10,000. We don’t do that because we believe in small profit and high turn-over,” Ejiofor said in a WhatsApp message.

Momodu regretted the action of the Ghanaian government which he linked to politics and politicians, saying that many Nigerians, including himself, have invested heavily in Ghana economy.

“Nigerian investors play big role in the various sectors of Ghanaian economy, especially in banking and real estate,” he said, adding that. Nigerians have properties in the most expensive neighbourhoods in the country including, Trasacco Valley, Airport Residential Area, Cantoment, East Legion, etc.

“If Nigerians sell off their properties in these locations and start coming home, it will affect the Ghana economy. In the same way, if six Nigerian banks pull out of the country, that sector is gone,”he said, calling on the presidents of the two countries to do something urgently and save the situation.

Momodu noted that Nigerian government’s response to the situation through the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, was not strong enough, saying that it is beyond the minister for it to be effective.

The federal government had on Monday faulted the Ghanaian authorities for closing shops belonging to Nigerians resident in that country, saying it may be forced to drag the Ghanaian authorities to the community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS Court) if it’s found to have breached of the sub-region’s Protocol of free movement of peoples.

Onyeama said this while welcoming a delegation of the Progressive Ambassadors of Nigerian (PAN) led by its president, which came to brief the minister on the disturbing development in Ghana and the need for the Nigerian government to take urgent steps to address the issue.