Nigerian traders in Ghana beg FG for evacuation
The Nigerian Union of Traders in Ghana (NUTAG) has called on the federal government to safely evacuate them from Ghana. The call was made on Wednesday by the President of NUTAG, Chukwuemeka Nnaji during a visit to the Minister of Trade and Investment to table the plight of Nigerian traders in Ghana and to communicate its final decision on the issue. The Ghanaian Ministry of Trades in August 2020 rejected claims of unfair treatment by Nigerian traders in the country during the enforcement of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council regulations, insisting that the traders must pay the required taxes and other fees imposed on them by the authorities.
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A Nigerian trader whose shop was forcefully locked up by the Ghanaian security officials had recorded a video of the incident in which they asked him to pay the $1 million registration fee. The victim had shown the officials his business registration certificate and other documents but the enforcement team was adamant, insisting on shutting his premises. But speaking on the incident on a Ghanaian radio station, Starr FM, the Head of Communications, Ministry of Trade, Prince Boakye Boateng, said the Nigerian traders had failed to honor an ultimatum to meet the requirements.
Despite several interventions put forward by the Nigerian government to the Ghanian authorities through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to address the situation, it has rather degenerated rather than get better. The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), communicating its message to the Minister of Trade & Investment in a statement on Wednesday said the association together with NUTAG had come to a conclusion to be safely evacuated from Ghana by the Nigerian government since every effort put forward to savage the issues had ‘yielded no fruit’.
The statement reads, “We the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana under the auspices of the National Association of Nigerian Traders wish to convey our final resolution to you. “Honourable Minister would recall that we have been in and out of perennial closure of shops and businesses in Ghana, incessant harassment, torture, intimidation, and frustration of all manner by the government and people of Ghana since 2007.
“A litany of diplomatic dialogues and several engagements have been initiated by the government of Nigeria and had taken place on the same subject matter without any tangible solution. Similarly, the ECOWAS Parliament had also in condemnation of Ghana’s approach engaged the matter in 2011, 2013, and 2015, and even visited and dialogued with the Ghanian Parliament and government officials with no tangible results to show. in the same vein, the ECOWAS Commission had also sent delegations led by the relevant Commissioners to intervene, and all these were without any success.
“Since February 2020, majority of our shops in Ghana have been under lock and key boldly enforced by the Ghanian government officials. Moved by this action which came shortly after the shameful and unlawful demolition of Nigeria’s House in Accra-Ghana, several emissaries and high-level mediations have taken place for the Ghanian government to reopen our shops and businesses, but Ghana remains adamant on destroying our sources of livelihoods, and by extension, the Nigerian economy and the fabric of regional integration.
“We have revied all the circumstances and efforts made by other organizations on this matter. in addition to the humiliation and frustration, we have equally suffered unquantifiable loss. “In view of the foregoing and given our status as bonafide citizens of Nigeria who have utmost confidence in their country and government, we are therefore appealing to our government to make necessary arrangements (including immigration, transportation, relocation, emergency operations, internal security operations, etc) to embark on immediate evacuation of our members and investments from Ghana.
“Also to take necessary steps to liaise with relevant Ghanian authorities to ensure that no jot or iota of our goods, other properties and investments are left behind but fully safeguarded and moved back to Nigeria. “We urge the Nigerian government to also make adequate provisions for temporary allocations in the various states where we can relocate our business and start life albeit afresh. We believe that this administration would always accord her citizen priority by ensuring their full protection as has been done in the past for returnees from other countries.