Ghanaians stranded at the border between Bennin and Nigeria will be given a special passage in the coming week.
According to Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng, this understanding was agreed on when a delegation from the Trade and Industry as well as Foreign Affairs Ministries from Ghana, went to Nigeria to discuss the border closure.
“On Monday there would be communication, to this effect. There is going to be a meeting at which the decision would be confirmed or ratified, the Ghanaians at the borders on either side would be given special passage,” he told Samson Lardi Anyenini, host of Newsfile on JoyNews, Saturday.
According to him, it is still uncertain when the borders would be opened hence there is also some discussions ongoing to make special arrangements that will cater for Ghanaians.
“This is coming on the back of suggestion by Nigeria, that we are not their targets,” he added.
Nigeria is reported to have closed its borders to neighbouring countries to check the smuggling of illegal goods into their country.
Although it is uncertain when the border closure started, some Ghanaian drivers stuck at the border say they have been there for about three months. This closure has reportedly cost Ghana’s largest local beverage manufacturer, Kasapreko, $2 million.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo presented CFA450,000 to the Ghanaian drivers who are stranded at Seme-Krakue, a town on the Nigeria-Benin border.
However, the stranded Ghanaian drivers and their conductors say the amount donated by the president to help them out at the border, is not enough.
They have told the Head of JoyNews Security Desk, Gifty Andoh Appiah that, the money meant to be shared among them will leave each of them with CFA5,000 which is equivalent to GH₵40.
The Nigerian government, however, argues that their target is not Ghana but Benin.
Mr Kwateng says he disagrees with Nigeria’s stands that closing the border is targetted at crimes, not countries.
“Essentially when you close your borders, you close it to countries,” he added.
Following this action, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has closed the shops of some Nigerians in the country.
Many people have criticised them, labelling their actions as an act in retaliation for the border closure.
However, the National Organiser of GUTA, Clement Boateng, says their actions have nothing to do with the border but the continuous persistence of Nigerians to engage in retail trading in Ghana when the laws do not allow it.
He stated that they have the right to enforce the law in the form of “citizens' arrest” explaining that “if authorities who are supposed to enforce the law are not doing it and foreigners are flouting our laws, we have every right to go by that means.”
He added that “what GUTA has been saying is that if there is any Ghanaian in Nigeria who is doing an illegitimate business there, it is incumbent on the Nigerian government to deal with that person.
Ghanaian traders are not the only people angry about Nigeria’s border closure as traders in that country (Nigeria) have lamented about the adverse effects of the closure of their country’s border on their businesses.
Gifty Andoh Appiah, reports, Benin nationals fear to speak on the matter, while their Nigerian counterparts boldly criticised their country for the closure of the border.
“It’s affecting us in the diaspora that are doing one business or the other. I want to see the border opened as soon as possible,” one of the Nigerian traders said.