By Favour Nnabugwu
The Nigeria Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG), has carried out a peaceful protest over Ghanaian authorities’ refusal to open over 1,000 shops owned by Nigerians in that country.
The President of NUTAG, Mr Chukwuemeka Nnaji stated that Ghanaian authorities’ refused to open their shops since 2019.
An inter-ministerial task force on August 10 identified shops owned by Nigerian traders and requested for registration of business taxes, resident permit, standard control and Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) registration as prerequisite for reopening their businesses.
The Ghanaian Ministry of Trades has insisted that Nigerian businesses wishing to trade in the country must pay the $1 million stipulated in the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, (GIPC) Act or risk being thrown out of the country.
He noted that the Ghanaian authorities’ refusal to open the traders’ shops despite several meetings between top officials of both governments of Nigeria and Ghana.
Nnaji who left a protestsaid the action was to press the Ghanaian authorities to open shops owned by Nigerians living in Ghana, to enable them tackle economic challenges amid COVID-19.
According to him, “The shops owned by Nigerians under lock and key since past one year should be opened to enable the traders return to normal businesses, urging the Nigerian central overnment to evacuate them.”
He said, “I am in talks in with my leader, Mr Ken Okoha, National President of Nigerian Traders, and he has assured us that he will take our case up to the highest level in Nigeria.”
“In fact, plans are on for him to move to institutions that are related to trade; I have known him for five years now and I know what he is able to do.
“I am rest assured that the leadership of Nigerian traders are working towards achieving this goal; some of you, who still have funds, should also continue to help other traders.
“Be law abiding citizens, COVID-19 is still on and lots of businesses are affected; many of us are living from hand to mouth due to the downturn.
“If you do not have anything to do, stay at home; rest assured that at the end of October, if we are not evacuated, we will keep ourselves at the border.”
Receiving the traders, Mrs Easter Arewa, Charge de Affair of Nigeria High Commission in Ghana, said that government would remain committed to protecting Nigeria citizens.
Arewa assured that the two governments will meet and find a lasting solution to the crisis
According to her, “The letter by Nigerian traders has been well received and their message will be conveyed to the highest authority.”
“Government is not resting on your case; it is because of you Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of House of Representatives, came to Ghana.
“Likewise, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was here. In spite of his busy schedule, he came here and met with the leadership of NUTAG. He promised to continue with the cause on his return to Abuja.
“He has not failed; very soon your situation will be addressed because a hungry man is an angry man. It is not nice to hear that in a brotherly country as Ghana, you are being treated like this.
“We have Ghanaians in Nigeria too and they are treated as brothers, so do not worry. It is a government-to-government dialogue.
“I believe, very soon, we will get to the end of this matter and we will all be at peace.