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Nigerians lament closure of businesses in Ghana

On Nov. 28, 2007, the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) ordered the closure of the businesses of Nigerians who were unable to meet the demand.…

On Nov. 28, 2007, the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) ordered the closure of the businesses of Nigerians who were unable to meet the demand.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the traders could not meet the demand, resulting in the sealing up of their shops.

A NAN correspondent in Accra reports that many of the shops, including electronics marts, have remained closed and efforts made by the traders to persuade the Ghanaian Government to re-open them have proved abortive.

Mr Jasper Emenike, the Secretary General of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association (NUTAG), told NAN that some members of the association had committed suicide due to their inability to feed their families.

“We have recorded some suicide cases and attempted suicide by scores of Nigerian in Ghana because of their inability to feed their families and meet other obligations due to the sealing up of their shops by the Ghanaian Government.

“We are appealing to the Nigerian Government to give this matter the urgency it deserves because Nigerians are passing through severe difficulties in trying to make a living in Ghana.

“We are at a loss as to why it is only businesses owned by Nigerians that should be closed down in a country where millions of businessmen from other countries, including ECOWAS member countries are flocking to daily to do business,’’ Emenike said.

He said although the association had taken its case to the ECOWAS Parliament, which condemned the closure of their shops, nothing had come out of the effort.

“We have also taken the matter to the courts in Ghana but the case was struck out with an advice that we should try to get the matter resolved through diplomatic means, rather than through litigation.

“It may interest you to know that no Nigerian trader has taken the law into his hands in spite of the obvious provocation by their Ghanaian brothers,’’ he said, and appealed to the Federal Government to show more commitment in resolving the matter to save the traders from starvation.

Emenike argued that the closure of the shops was contrary to the ECOWAS Protocol, which allowed free movement of goods and people within the sub-region.

Commenting on the closure of the shops, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Musiliu Obanikoro, said the High Commission was handling the matter and that “it will eventually be sorted out’’.

He said the traders were coming together as entities to raise funds to meet the conditions imposed by the Ghanaian Government for them to continue to do businesses in the West African country.(NAN)