By Polycarp Auta
Jos, Aug. 27, 2020
An NGO, Media Advocacy West Africa Foundation (MAWA Foundation) has condemned the ill treatment of Nigerian traders in Ghana.
Mr Liberty Oseni, the Coordinator of the organisation made the condemnation in a statement on Thursday in Jos.
NAN reports that the Ghanaian government had issued a municipal law which requested Nigerian businessmen to pay one million dollars to obtain license to operate a business in the country.
The development had led to a lingering crisis between Nigerian traders in Ghana and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) which earlier led to the closure of more than 400 Nigerian businesses in Ghana.
The closure resulted to protest by the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) and the Nigerian Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG) before they were eventually reopened.
Oseni, who described the situation as “unfortunate” and an abuse of human rights, called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to intervene.
He explained that the demand of a fee from Nigerians to enable them operate their businesses in Ghana negates the ECOWAS treaty, which promotes free trade among member states.
Oseni noted that the ECOWAS treaty, which Ghana government signed to, upholds the principle of democracy, rule of law and good governance.
“We call on ECOWAS to immediately look into the activities of Ghana government and stop the grave human rights abuse against Nigerians living and doing business in Ghana under the guise of implementing municipal law.
“We call on all human rights organisations and activists across the West African States to rise up against the maltreatment of Nigerians in Ghana and force the government to uphold the ECOWAS treaty on free trade and economic integration which are core cardinal values of the regional body.
“We wish to remind the government of Ghana that the core vision of the regional body is the creation of a borderless region where the population has access to its abundant resources and can exploit the same through the creation of opportunities under a sustainable environment.
“ECOWAS which Ghana signed up to is a creation of an integrated region where the population enjoys free movement, has access to efficient education and health systems, and engages in economic and commercial activities while living in dignity in an atmosphere of peace and security.
“It is a region governed by the principles of democracy, rule of law and good governance, but what is currently happening to Nigerians in Ghana is a complete negation of ECOWAS protocols,” he said.
Oseni called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently activate all diplomatic machinery within the ECOWAS body to stop the ill treatment of Nigerians in Ghana.
He advised Nigerian government to cut off all diplomatic ties and support to Ghana if the ugly situation continues.
“If Ghana becomes adamant and continues to carry out its draconian law against Nigerians and other ECOWAS Nationals, Nigeria should immediately withdraw its support from the regional body as a way of showing her disapproval over Ghana’s action against its citizens,” Oseni advised.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had expressed government’s dissatisfaction with the development and promised that urgent steps would be taken to halt the situation.