By Emmanuella Anokam
Abuja, Nov. 30, 2020
The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has called on the Federal Government to take urgent action as Ghanaian Authorities embarked on another round of closure of shops belonging to Nigerian traders on Monday.
The National President of NANTS, Dr Ken Ukaoha, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, condemned the maltreatment of Nigerian traders in Ghana
Ukaoha said that the entire process showed Ghana’s decision to undermine trade and economic integration process in ECOWAS.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to take immediate actions and urgently present the maltreatment of Nigerians in Ghana to the Council of Ministers and the Authority of Heads of State.
NAN recalls that 270 shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Ghana have been under lock and key since September, 2019.
“As at today, Nov. 30 the Ghanaian Authorities led by Security Agencies have started another round of closure of shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Ghana.
“The notice placed above the padlocks on each of the locked shops informs owners to come to their Ministry of Trade and Industry with evidence of payment of one million dollars.
“It is indeed a complete dent on the face of ECOWAS and a bold question, perhaps asking the Nigerian Government “what would you do”? OR “do your worst,” Ukaoha noted.
He recalled that that few weeks back, Nigerian traders in Ghana had appealed to the Federal Government to start the process of evacuating them back to Nigeria, expressing their displeasure and insecurity of their wares and livelihoods in Ghana.
“An Inter-Ministerial Committee was said to have been set up by the Nigerian President, but it appears before the sitting of the Committee, the Ghanaian Authorities have started pushing towards readiness for a trade war.
“For NANTS, I believe this cold war is needless.
“It is indeed senseless that you asked a community to leave your space and while they are preparing with their government on how to act on your demand, another round of closure is being effected,” he said.
According to him, why would Ghana start a fresh closure of Nigerian shops even when they had ordered Nigerians to leave and the government of Nigeria is preparing to take her citizens?
“Ghana would definitely regret this war songs, knowing clearly that the rebound would hit strongly on her people and her economy, especially when Nigerians move out of the country with their business investments.
“We will continue to ask Nigeria to move calmly but speedily in the process and still withhold her sword of anger,” he said.
He, however, notified the Federal Government that Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire had been secretly negotiating bilateral Trade Agreements with the United Kingdom arising from the Brexit.
This, Ukaoha noted, was without the duly required notification of Nigeria and other ECOWAS Member States.
He added that it was a suggestive signal and reminder of the actions taken by the same Ghana when the country surreptitiously negotiated Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union behind Nigeria.
“We wish to place on notice that this action equally undermines, constitutes sabotage and contradicts the letter and spirit of ECOWAS trade and economic integration process, and particularly the Common External Tariff (CET) and other related Protocols.
“Nigeria should therefore take immediate actions and urgently present this and the maltreatment of Nigerians in Ghana to the Council of Ministers and the Authority of Heads of State.
“Towards stalling and bringing to an end such divisive, disruptive and trade conflict-provoking actions and processes, the Nigerian government must now be prepared for the deployment of reciprocity as a part of diplomacy,” the expert said.