Nigerian traders cry over constant harassment by unscrupulous GUTA members

Trade minister Alan Kyeremanteng, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway (M) and Albert Kan Dapaah

Government has been urged to make a definite pronouncement that will quell the rising tension between Ghanaian Traders and their foreign counterparts, particularly those from neighbouring Nigeria in the retail trade arena.

Some unscrupulous persons claiming to be Ghanaian traders have been up in arms against their foreign counterparts in the last couple of days, locking up their shops and threatening to take the law into their own hands should government not enforce the law on retail trade in the country.

These traders are banking their strength on the part of the law that reserves the retail trade for only Ghanaians and want that law enforced to the letter and are therefore engaging in these acts despite government’s calls for a halt.

In Accra and Kumasi for example, the situation has escalated to the point where the shops of Nigerians have been locked up sometimes for days, raising fears of reprisal attacks on Ghanaians in Nigeria and other affected countries. Some industry players who have monitored the situation for some time now are afraid the situation may degenerate into a more serious one if government does not intervene as matter of urgency.

According to these industry players, even though the leadership of the Nigerian community in Ghana is leaving no stone unturned to ensure an amicable resolution of the matter, government’s intervention is urgently required to add impetus to the efforts being made by the leaders.

‘’As we speak , we have received calls from Nigeria that the tension there is heightening and we are afraid of the repercussions on our brothers and sisters in that country. It is as if Ghana wants to replicate the South African Xenophobic thing in the country. If this happens the consequences will be disastrous and catastrophic. Government must try as much as possible to get this issue addressed once and for all’’ they told

They attest to measures taken by the previous administration under former president John Dramani Mahama when the same issue arose in his time including making a definite pronouncement on the matter and the stance by the then trade and industry minister, Hannah Tetteh which brought the tension under control.

They believe a similar action is required by president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo to arrest this situation, especially when tension is beginning to mount on Ghanaian traders in Nigeria in response to what their brothers and sisters are suffering in Ghana.

According to them, it is imperative for the president to make good his promise of achieving good neighborliness with sister countries and to ensure the continued growth of the economies of these countries.

They cite the number of Nigerians living in Ghana, the thousands of Nigerian students in tertiary institutions in the country, the amount of investments Nigerians have made in the country in terms of ownership of houses and estates in the country and the numerous marriages between Ghanaians and Nigerians that bind both countries together as enough reason for urgent steps to be taken to resolve the impasse as quickly as possible.

They have therefore renewed calls for the Foreign Affairs Minister and Trade and Industry Minister to openly condemn these attacks as the situation could easily be interpreted to have echoes of Ghana’s Aliens Compliance Order, where hundreds of thousands of Nigerian immigrants were forced to leave Ghana in 1969.

This could also erroneously be misinterpreted that the political tradition that introduced the Aliens Compliance Order is back in power today.

It would be recalled Nigeria retaliated on a much bigger scale with the expulsion in 1983 and 1985 resulting in nearly a million Ghanaians being expelled from Nigeria in a very short space of time.

Culled from Ghanaweb