Nigerian traders living in Ghana have continuously suffered all sorts of harassment and intimidation, with Ghanaian authorities forcefully locking up their shops without asking for the documents or evidence of payments.
Recall that a video went viral on social media, showing a Nigerian business merchant standing against policemen, claiming that the system has not operating fairly on them especially the Nigerians.
Initially, the policemen threatened to close down the shop of the Nigerian for not paying a tax fee of $1 million the Ghanaian government. But the Nigerian business merchant maintained that he had paid both his company tax and all other necessary fees, even before registering his business in Ghana. He therefore challenged the authorities and demanded an evidence of non-payment of tax.
Meanwhile, the President of the Nigerian Traders Union in Ghana, Chukwuemeka Nnaji, disclosed that there were directive which included a financial requirement, and stipulates that Nigerian traders must register with the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC).
This means that traders involved in general trading must pay a sum $1,000,000 minimum foreign equity, and pay 31,500 cedis for the registration fee.
He added that Nigerian traders were not allowed to trade in businesses that Ghanaians had already applied for or are trading in. the business include; Taxi or car hire service that has a fleet of less than 25 vehicles, salon or barber shop, retail finished pharmaceutical products, a sachet water business, production of exercise books and basic stationery.
Surprisingly to them, the traders were given just two weeks to obtain the capital base of $1,000,000, which was definitely unrealistic.
In this regard, no fewer than 600 shops belonging to foreign traders, particularly Nigerians at the Kwame Nkurumah Circle, Ghana, were locked up by the members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association.
Due to the frequent harassment and locking of shops by Ghanaian authorities, an evacuation letter signed by the NiDCOM’s Media, public relations and protocol unit, Gabriel Odu and endorsed by 753 traders in the two associations -the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) and the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) was delivered by the President of NANTS, Dr Ken Ukaoha.
In the letter, the associations and traders stated that their evacuation has become necessary because of the constant and consistent harassment, intimidation, torture, threat to their lives and the total lockdown of their means of livelihood in Ghana.
The letter read: “Diplomatic niceties at the highest level between Nigeria and Ghana have not yielded positive results.
“Landlords are coming to ask us for rent. How do we pay with our shops locked up for almost one year? We are dying here.”
In response to the Delegation, Chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa called for peace, stressing the need for all relevant stakeholders to continually engage in peace talks.
She stated that it was indeed sad that the traders’ shops have not been reopened for almost a year, citing Ghana’s draconian regulations which breached ECOWAS Protocols on Free Trade and the Movement of Goods and Services.
The NiDCOM boss also urged the traders not to allow the issues escalate by taking laws into their hands as she would convey their message to the appropriate Nigerian authorities.
She added that the Nigerian government would gladly welcome the traders back home.