More than 700 Nigerian traders in Ghana have asked to be evacuated to Nigeria as Ghanaian authorities continue their clamp down over $1 million capital deposit.
A statement by Gabriel Odu, spokesman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) said the traders disclosed their intention in a letter presented to Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman of the commission, in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ken Ukoaha, president of the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), led the delegation alongside officials of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG).
According to Odu, the letter which was signed by 753 traders in Ghana, requested the evacuation of affected Nigerians following “constant harassment, threat to life” and the closure of their shops for almost one year.
“Their request is, among others, to secure a peaceful and secure evacuation of Nigerians in Ghana back home to Nigeria. The letter has a list of 753 members who signed to be supported to return home,” the statement read.
“They explained that the evacuation has become necessary because of the constant and consistent harassment, intimidation, torture and threat to life, as well as a total lockdown of their means of livelihood, as their shops have been locked for almost one year by the Ghanaian authorities.
“More so, since all diplomatic niceties at the highest level between Nigeria and Ghana have not yielded positive results. ‘Now, landlords are coming to ask us for rent. How do we pay with our shops locked up for so long? We are dying here,’ they lamented.”
Dabiri-Erewa, however, urged the traders to be peaceful in their dealings as “all relevant stakeholders will continually be engaged.”
The statement quoted her as noting that, “it is indeed sad that their shops have not been reopened for almost one year, citing draconian conditions against ECOWAS Protocols of Free Trade and movement of goods and services.
“The NIDCOM boss, however, pleaded again with the traders not to allow tempers rise as she will convey their message for support to relocate back home to the appropriate authorities for further consideration and to speed up the process with strategic ministries and agencies to bring a lasting solution to the issues.
“Mrs Dabiri-Erewa also said Nigeria will not hesitate to gladly and safely welcome her citizens back to the country.”
Nigerian traders in Ghana had, in August 2020, expressed concern over the closure of their shops by authorities who demanded evidence of their Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) registration.
According to the GIPC, for general trading, the requirement is $1,000,000 minimum foreign equity, while registration fee is 31,500 cedis.
Meanwhile, there have been meetings between the governments of Nigeria and Ghana in the effort to address the issues raised, and the Ghanaian authorities had promised to consider a review of the foreign equity requirement.