Nigerian small business owners in Ghana have finally reopened their shops after months of alleged Government-backed shut-downs. President of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG), Mr Chukwuemeka Nnaji, disclosed this yesterday in Kumasi through a telephone interview.
He acknowledged and appreciated the Nigerian Government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), whom he said played major roles towards ensuring that an amicable resolution was reached. According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari sent an envoy to meet with the Ghanaians and their President, Nana Akufo-Addo over the matter. The meeting was, of course, to negotiate ways of resolving the matter.
“All our shops are now opened. We want to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his intervention. We also commend the ECOWAS president, Jean Claude Brou, and his commissioners and other envoys sent to Ghana so many times over the issue.
“We also want to thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, for their efforts.” -Nnaji
Meanwhile, the Ghanaian President had earlier assured Nigerians living in his country on their freedom to own and operate small businesses without fear of harassment. The President, who made this known while receiving President Buhari’s envoy, also clarified that the “Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act will never be applicable to ECOWAS citizens; so people can get on with their normal lives.”
Flashback to the problem
Many shops belonging to Nigerians were in August shut down after a violent dispute between the traders and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).
At the heart of the dispute was a concern by the local traders that their Nigerian counterparts were taking over. Consequently, the shops were closed, even as the Ghanaian Government allegedly contemplated whether or not to pass a law that would require every foreign business owner in Ghana to have a minimum capital base of $1 million.