President of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana, Chief Chukwuemeka Nnaji, has regretted the continued closure of shops owned by Nigerians in Ghana, in spite of that country’s government’s directives for the shops to be reopened.He said although the government of Ghana has ordered that all shut shops belonging to Nigerian traders should be reopened with immediate effect, the directives were yet to be implemented, as the shops were yet to be reopened.
Nnaji told The Guardian exclusively that according to the directives given by the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Ado, shops belonging to his members, which were supposed to have been opened, were still locked, adding: “They symbolically opened about five shops and warned the owners to pack their things and leave Ashanti Region in three months’ time, boasting that if they failed to leave, they were going to destroy their wares.”
Nnaji reiterated that another trader who tried to open his shop was severely beaten by thugs of the Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) and that particular shop was sealed with welding machine by the same thugs, querying: “Our questions are: Why is the government not arresting these thugs? Why are locals so emboldened and boasting that Nigerians cannot do anything? Do they know some things that we don’t know? Why is the government telling the whole world that the closed shops had been opened, when they know very well that it is not true?
“Our patient is running out. For over one month now, we are not doing any business. Are they going to compensate us for this deliberate and systematic destruction of our means of livelihood?”According to him: “The crisis started recently when the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Ghana cancelled the eviction order to foreign traders by July 27, this year.
“The local traders rejected the cancellation and started attacking our members and locked their shops, because Ghanaians don’t want Nigerian traders to trade in Ghana and politicians are also using it as a tools to win elections.”He described the situation as terrible for Nigerian traders in Ghana, saying if it were possible for them (Nigerians) to just leave Ghana like that, many of them would have left, noting: “Many families are now finding it difficult to pay children school fees. The Nigerian High Commissioner in Ghana, Ambassador Michael Olufemi Abikoye, has done a lot for us, but the Nigerian government should have responded to his call to rescue Nigerian traders from Ghanaian traders, who keep molesting our members. So many of them have been physically attacked.”
He said he did not know what the appropriate Nigerian authorities were doing to prevent future recurrence, stating: “It seems the Ghanaian government has allowed thugs to do what they like with Nigerian traders.” Read more