© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Ghana-Nigeria: Envoy calls for resolve after attacks on Nigerians
THE Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Olufemi Abikoye has called on the government of Nigeria and Ghana to expedite actions and resolve the crisis between traders of the two nations.
The high commissioner in a statement noted that the attacks on Nigerian traders in Ghana were enforced by the Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA), by illegally locking up shops belonging to Nigerian traders.
“Given the above scenario, it is pertinent to note that such attacks by GUTA which could threaten the national security of both countries and mar bilateral relations may likely continue if drastic steps are not taken by both governments to address the issue amicably,” Abikoye said.
He condemned the attacks, saying about 1,000 shops owned by Nigerians had been shut by GUTA, a reason he noted must have been associated with the Nigerian border closure.
“It is recalled that there has been ongoing tension between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders of recent, with almost 1,000 shops belonging to Nigerian traders being illegally shut down by the GUTA members.
“The excuse for their action was linked to Nigeria’s temporary closure of its land border and the short-listing of about 45 products from the ECOWAS trade liberalisation scheme, an action which they claimed crippled their trading activities with Nigeria,” he said.
Recounting the recent incident of a clash between Nigerian and Ghana traders on Monday, Abikoye said the attack ensued when Nigerians attempted to reopen their shops which were locked on December 1, 2019, by members of GUTA allegedly using operatives of Ghana Police Force.
Abikoye said, following the clash, the Ghana Police Force was immediately contacted to come to the scene of the incidence to disarm invading attackers as well as restore peace in the area.
According to him, the intervention of various Ghanaian establishments was sought to ensure the reopening of the illegally locked shops but noted that the shops were still under lock as the situation was a bit tense.
The District Police Commander, Nima Police Station, ACP Abraham Acquaye, had advised that the shops remained locked for possible dialogue to take place.
He said though no life was lost during the incidence, seven arrests were made, four of who are Nigerians: Uche Onwurah, Chizoba Onwurah, Abuchi Kenneth, Onyekachi Iheoma and Darlington Logo, and three Ghanaians.
However, an executive member of GUTA, Eric Gumfi, in a press statement on Monday, threatened that GUTA would continue with the closure of all shops belonging to foreigners in ensuring the GIPC Act was enforced.
Nonetheless, there is an ongoing dialogue between the commissioner and Ghanaian government functionaries to finding a lasting solution to the problem.