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Ghana’s president to engage Buhari over maltreatment of Nigerian traders

Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, will engage with President Muhammadu Buhari over maltreatment of Nigerian traders in that country. Ghana’s Minister of Information, Endkojo Oppong Nkrumah,…

Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, will engage with President Muhammadu Buhari over maltreatment of Nigerian traders in that country.

Ghana’s Minister of Information, Endkojo Oppong Nkrumah, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday while reacting to claims by his Nigerian counterpart, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that Nigerians were being subjected to incessant harassment by Ghanaian authorities.

Diplomatic relations between both countries have experienced frequent breakdowns in recent times.

Few weeks ago, Ghanaian officials sealed off hundreds of Nigerians’ shops in Accra for allegedly failing to have the $1m equity stipulated by the Ghana Investment Promotions Council.

Though, the move provoked angry reactions in Nigeria, the leadership of the Nigerian Traders Union in Ghana said it is an experience they have endured for so long, dating back to 2007, but resurfacing at regular intervals.

Before the harassment of Nigerian traders, some non-state actors destroyed a set of buildings under construction at the Nigerian High Commission in Accra, the capital, based on the Osu Traditional Stool’s claim of ownership of the parcel of land.

Lai Mohammed, last Friday, issued a stern warning to the Ghanaian government that Nigeria would no longer tolerate its “progressive acts of hostility” towards the Nigeria and its citizens.

He, however, said the Federal Government was urgently considering a number of options aimed at ameliorating the situation.

But Ghana’s information minister said the country remained committed to the maintenance of warm relations with Nigeria.

He said Ghana would engage the Federal Government of Nigeria “with a view to resolve comprehensively and exhaustively any matters that have the potential to sour relations between the two countries.”

Nkrumah said: “The President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who values very much his excellent relations with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, will engage President Buhari with a view to develop immediately a framework for validating claims of ill treatment of citizens of either country, and ensure citizens enjoy the full exercise of their rights, while respecting the sovereignty and laws of both countries.

“Ghana and Nigeria, as they have been doing, must continue to work together for a successful West Africa.”

Claims and counter claims of ill-treatment

Meanwhile, the Ghana’s information minister denied claims of incessant hostilities toward Nigerian traders.

Nkrumah said Lai Mohammed’s “outline of issues” was not reflective of the developments in Ghana and that any action based on the claims would be unjustified.

Lai Mohammed had said that Nigeria’s demonstration of fidelity to its cordial relations with Ghana was being taken for granted and “its citizens being made targets of harassment and objects of ridicule.”

On the closure of foreign-owned business in Ghana, Nkrumah said: “It is an incontestable fact that there is widespread abuse and disregard for local laws and regulations governing retail trade by some foreigners, including Nigerians, which need to be addressed without discrimination.

“It is important to note that the compliance exercise under reference is not restricted to either ECOWAS nationals or Nigerians for that matter, but extend to all individuals engaged in retail trade, including Ghanaians.”