By Franca Ofili
Abuja – The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has raised alarm over the continued closure of shops owned by Nigerians in Ghana two weeks after President Nana Akufo-Addo gave the order to re-open them.
Mr Ken Ukaoha, President of the association said during a news conference in Abuja on Thursday that Nigerians might be forced to take reactive steps.
“ There was an assurance of President of Ghana to Buhari that the shops will be re-opened, and despite an instruction to re-open the shops on Sept. 27, the shops still remain closed till date.
“The Ghanaian authority was demanding that traders must have one million dollars as minimum foreign investment capital to do business in Ghana as stipulated by its Ministry of Trade and Industry (GIPC) Act, 2013.
“What will it take the government of Ghana to open the shop, we want the international community to take action,’’ Ukaoha said.
He said that the Ghana Ministry of Trade and Industry issued a public notice and gave an ultimatum that all Non-Ghanaians should move out of markets on July 27, 2018.
“In August, 2018, the Ministry, in a joint operation with Ghana Union of Traders Association, established a task force with specific mandate to clamp down on Nigerian traders.
“This eventually resulted in the closure of over 400 Nigerian traders’ shops and lawfully established businesses in Kumasi, Ashanti region of Ghana,’’ Ukaoha said.
He said that in spite of the protest by the association in September at the ECOWAS Secretariat and the promise made to them the shops are still closed.
According to him, the president of Ghana paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari during the UN General Assembly in New York and he assured him that Nigerian traders were not being targeted.
Ukaoha said that the development had gone so bad that a law was recently passed by the Ghanaian Government seeking to make the business environment hostile to foreign investors.
According to him, since Ghana is a signatory to the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of persons, goods and services, there is need for the Commission to call the government of Ghana to order.
He said that the association was deeply worried with the high level of government complicity and state-sponsored incitement and xenophobic attacks on Nigerians on the street of Ghana.
Ukaoha said that there were evidence-based information in video clips and recorded attacks leaving countless Nigerian traders at various hospitals.
He said that the association was demanding for immediate reopening of the more than 400 Nigerian-owned locked shops in Ghana.
According to him, Nigerians leaving in Ghana especially the students are not safe.
Ukaoha said Nigerian traders in Ghana were being subjected to multiple taxes and still officials were not satisfied with it.
Mr Chukwuemeka Nnaji, National President of Nigeria Union of Traders Association, Ghana said that warehouses were also being closed down.
Nnaji said that the association in Ghana had been following-up the issue and yet nothing had been done.
He, therefore, called on the Nigerian government to take a proactive action in addressing the issue.