FG WARNS GHANA OVER INCESSANT HARASSMENT OF NIGERIANS
The reaction of the Federal Government was in response to the unruly attitude and intentional hostility the Ghanaian authorities show towards Nigerians in the country.
In a recent video that that went viral on social media, Security operatives in Ghana were seen forcefully locking up shops belonging to Nigerians.
According to the President of the National Association of Nigerian Traders, Ken Ukaoha, the latest attack affected Nigerians whose papers and tax payments are up to date.
However, Ghana's Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Prince Boakye-Boateng, said the exercise was to enforce recommendations from the Presidential committee probing the impasse between Ghanaian traders and their foreign counterpart.
While reacting to this, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, issued the warning in a statement on Friday, August 28, saying the federal Government was deeply concerned by the hostile act and will no longer condone such.
He noted that over 1 million Ghanaians are resident in Nigeria, and are not being subjected to the kind of hostility being meted out to Nigerians in Ghana.
Mohammed added that the federal Government was also urgently considering a number of options aimed at ameliorating the situation.
According to the Minister, the Federal Government had documented acts of hostility by the Ghanaian authorities towards Nigeria and Nigerians.
He said these unfriendly acts included Seizure of the Nigerian Mission's property located at No. 10, Barnes Road, Accra, which the Nigerian Government has used as diplomatic premises for almost 50 years.
According to the Minister, the action was a serious breach of the Vienna Convention.
Mohammed also recalled the demolition of the Nigerian mission’s property situated at No. 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, East Ridge, Accra, which he described as another serious breach of the Vienna Convention.
Recall, in a video made available to Eons Intelligence, some members of staff of the Nigeria High Commission in Ghana alleged that when the demolition was going on in the early hours of Saturday morning, they made frantic calls to the police in Ghana, but no security personnel showed up.
The heart broken minister also criticized the Ghanaian authorities for aggressive, massive and incessant deportation of Nigerians from Ghana, noting that between January 2018 and February 2019, 825 Nigerians were deported from the country.
He said “Closure of shops belonging to Nigerians. Over 300 Nigerians shops were locked for four months in Kumasi in 2018; over 600 Nigerian shops were locked in 2019 and, currently, over 250 Nigerians shops have been locked.
“Residency Permit requirements, for which the Ghana Immigration Service has placed huge fees, far higher than the fees charged by the Nigerian Immigration Service.
“These include the compulsory non-citizen ID card (US$120, and US$60 for yearly renewal); Medical examinations, including for Covid-19 which is newly-introduced (about US$120), and payment for residency permit (US$400 compared to the N7,000 being paid by Ghanaians for residency card in Nigeria)”
He also listed the outrageous stipulations in the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act as another act of hostility. He said when the Act was initially promulgated in 1994, a foreigner was required to invest at least $300,000 by way of equity capital and also employ 10 Ghanians.
However, he lamented that the same Act has now been amended twice, with the 2018 GIPC Act raising the minimum capital base for foreign-owned businesses to $1 million, saying that although it was targeted at foreigners, it appeared GIPC’s definition of foreigners is Nigerians. He also noted that GIPC Act negated the protocol of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS).
“Media war against Nigerians in Ghana. The negative reportage of issues concerning Nigerians resident in Ghana by the Ghanaian media is fueling an emerging xenophobic attitude towards Nigerian traders and Nigerians in general. The immediate fallout is the incessant harassment and arrest of Nigerian traders and closure of their shops.
“Harsh and openly-biased judicial trial and pronouncement of indiscriminately-long jail terms for convicted Nigerians.
There are currently over 200 Nigerians in the Nsawam Maximum prison in Ghana
alone,” the statement read.
He also added that although the main reason given for the seizure of Federal Government property at No. 10, Barnes Road in Accra was the non-renewal of lease after expiration, the Ghanaian authorities did not give Nigeria the right of first refusal or the notice to renew the lease.
Mohammed said that by contrast, the lease on some of the properties occupied by the Ghanaian Mission in Nigeria had long expired, yet such properties had not been seized.
The minister noted that while Nigeria has demonstrated its fidelity to the long cordial relationship with Ghana, indications, especially in recent times, show that Nigeria’s stance is now being taken for granted and its citizens are being made targets of harassment and objects of ridicule.
He vowed that the act will no longer be tolerated under any guise, while appealing to Nigerian citizens resident in Ghana to remain law abiding and avoid engaging in self help, despite their ordeal.