The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has condemned the renewed attacks on Nigerian traders in Ghana, describing it as unnecessary.
The Chairman/CEO of the commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa condemned the renewed attacks in a statement issued by NIDCOM’s Head of Media and Public Relations, Abdur-Rahman Balogun.
She said that the reported cases of attacks on Nigerian shops and traders by Ghanaians were quite unfortunate. According to her, the attacks are happening at a time xenophobic attacks are becoming unpopular.
She that such attacks should be things of the past following interventions of Nigerian and Ghanaian leaders after September’s xenophobic attacks on foreigners and their businesses in South Africa. The NIDCOM boss, however, appealed to Nigerians in Ghana, especially shop owners, not to take laws into their hands by retaliating, but to remain calm and allow law enforcement agents to deal with the situation.
“I hereby appeal for calm from both sides and implore the law enforcement agencies to protect the lives and properties, especially those of Nigerians, from being attacked pending the resolution of the matter,” she pleaded.
Reports say that the clashes followed the closure of shops belonging to some Nigerian traders at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Ghana.
Recently, there has been growing tension between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders in Ghana.
No fewer than 600 shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Kumasi and other areas have been since January 2019 allegedly by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).
The association has been shutting down Nigerian-owned businesses and Ghanaian officials went as far as closing almost 70 businesses belonging to Nigerians on Nov. 11, 2019, alone.
GUTA believes that foreigners, particularly Nigerians, Chinese, and Lebanese have taken over their retail business as their activities have breached section 27 of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865.
The section stipulates that “the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading or hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place,” must be reserved only for Ghanaian citizens.
Although GUTA claims that the closure of Nigeria’s trade borders to Benin and other neighbouring countries is an outright breach of ECOWAS treaties and is affecting Ghanaian businessmen and businesswomen negatively, the border closure was executed by Nigeria in August “to curb smuggling activities” weeks after Ghanaian had begun to shut down shops and businesses owned by Nigerian.
It will be recalled that on June 19, 2019, at least 50 shops belonging to Nigerian spare parts dealers were locked up by agitated Ghanaians who said they would not sit down and watch foreigners flout the laws governing retail marketing in their country.