Nigerian traders are victims of competition in Ghana – Dabiri-Erewa
Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Monday, empasised that Nigerians resident in Ghana are being attacked because of their skills in trade and carrying out their jobs in the country which are beyond the capacities of Ghanaian citizens. This, she said, is responsible for their travails in the country.
Dabiri-Erewa speaking on Channels TV on Monday said that the Ghanaian government did not roll out harsh policies against Nigerian traders in Ghana because President Muhammadu Buhari shut down land borders. In the harsh policies, several shops owned by Nigerians were shut down in Ghana after the imposition of $1 million levy on the traders. Accordingly, Nigerian traders in Ghana are seeking the assistance of the Nigerian government to return home.
Though, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, in September, traveled to Ghana where he met with the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, the Nigerian Government has engaged the Ghanaian government in proper diplomatic negotiation on the issue.
Dabiri-Erewa on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, remarked that the treatment of Nigerian traders by the Ghanaian government has to do with complex of not being able to compete. She noted that the crisis has existed for years before the Nigeria government shut its borders.
Dabiri-Erewa acknowledged that the border closure has impacted negatively on the finances and psychological state of many of the Nigerian traders, leading to suicide in at least one instance. She added that the border was closed partly to prevent smuggling of small arms and other contraband goods into the country.
“They are not the same thing actually. There’s a reason why borders were closed. You can’t be bringing in small arms and ammunition and all that and Nigeria will not take action.
“We are talking of people that have been living in your country, working very well for years. Now, I’ll ask you something; if it has to do with the borders, why didn’t they send away the big industries in Ghana; we have six banks in Ghana. Why didn’t they tell them to leave, if they are afraid of border closure? There is the gas pipeline going to Ghana, why don’t you cut it off?
“And I think it boils down to this lack of trust and some kind of complex. Because these Nigerian traders sell their goods at cheaper prices; you know, Nigerians are very industrious. So, the reality is that the Ghanian traders say it is really difficult to compete with the Nigerian traders. And they’ve put it in one million dollars to almost impossible for traders to . . . so let’s leave the issue of border closure.
“This thing has been on for years. In New York, three years ago, Mr. President, took up with the Ghanaian President, and he gave an assurance that they are sorry about it and will open the shops. Then they open and close again, to their whims and caprices. I’m sure you will agree with me that we can’t continue like this,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
She stated that about three federal ministries which include Foreign Affairs, Interior, and Trade and Investment, will be intervening in the matter this week. She also disclosed that 753 signed the request of Nigerians in Ghana to return to the country.
“The delegation is in Nigeria to tell the government that they want to return. And 753 actually signed the document that says they want to return to Nigeria.
“So, with this request from them, what is going on now is that the three ministers involved will have been some engagement with them to see what actually should be the next thing.
“Now, you’ve said you want to come to your country, so there should be no problem about that. They are Nigerians and we are proud of them and glad to return them home.
“But they must return to something meaningful. Like one of them said to me when they came to NIDCOM office, a lot of them have been there for over 25 years; so just uprooting yourself for not committing any crime – the only crime they’ve committed is that they are very good at their trade, at their jobs,” she declared.
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