Nigeria vows court, retaliatory actions against Ghana over harassment of Nigerian traders
London, august 18, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Nigerian government is to take “serious urgent steps” including retaliatory actions if possible against Ghana over a viral video showing the forced closure of shops belonging to Nigerian traders in the Accra
Nigerian government also said that it may drag Ghana to the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States, if found to have breached the sub-region’s Protocol of Free Movement of Peoples.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this in Abuja on Monday, during a meeting with a delegation of the League of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria led by its President, Mr Jasper Emenike, which briefed him on the harassment of Nigerian traders in Ghana.
Nigerian Government has watched with dismay the painful videos of the forceful closure of the shops of Nigerian traders in #Ghana. Urgent steps will be taken. #StayHomeSaveLives #COVID19 @NigeriaGov @DigiCommsNG @ecowas_cedeao— Geoffrey Onyeama (@GeoffreyOnyeama) August 17, 2020
Ghanaian officials had sealed off the shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Accra for allegedly failing to have the $1 million equity stipulated by the Ghana Investment Promotions Council.
It comes just months after a major diplomatic row in which a building in the Nigerian embassy compound in Ghana was demolished.
The video in question shows a Nigerian man speaking to security agents locking up his shop in Ghana. The man claimed in the video that he was asked to pay $1m (£750,000) as tax.
Authorities in Ghana dispute this, saying foreigners are only allowed to open a business in Ghana if they invest $1m.
The minister recalled that the FG reached an agreement with Ghana on the GIPC regulations over a year ago but expressed concern that the matter has reared its head again.
He added that the Ghanaian code that made retail trade the exclusive preserve of Ghanaians appeared to be in conflict with the ECOWAS Protocol.
Onyeama noted, “What is the point of having an economic community if at the end of the day, each country will make laws and regulations that are in contradiction with the protocol? That is an issue that needs to be addressed
The minister further said that the Minister of Trade would engage his Ghanaian counterpart on the situation, adding that he (Onyeama) had earlier met with the Ghanaian High Commissioner, who provided information on the development.
He said, “We have the intention of calling our Charge’ D Affairs in Ghana for consultation and again to get to the fact. We don’t want to anticipate what our actions would be but we will consider all the options depending on the facts
“Clearly, if it is contravening ECOWAS Protocol, then we would have to look at solution including the ECOWAS Court as the final arbiter.
“We will also consider the issue of reciprocity in terms of the concrete measures that will be applied. We are following the matter very closely and we want the matter to be addressed within the shortest possible time,” Onyeama noted.
A pressure group, the Human Rights Writers Association, has called on the Nigeria government to retaliate against Ghanaian businesses in Nigeria.
Some Nigerians are questioning the rationale behind Ghana’s imposition of conditions, considering agreements on free trade and movement reached by the regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).