Hundreds of Nigerian traders massed up at the premises of the Nigerian High Commission to protest of what they call inhumane treatment meted out to them by the Ghanaian government.
According to the traders, they are dying of hunger and want to be evacuated to Nigeria if Ghanaian authorities fail to open their shops.
Some of them said their shops have been closed since December last year.
Foreign traders in the country’s retail space have, for some time now, been at loggerheads with their local counterparts – especially members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) – over the legitimacy of their activity.
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) law bars foreigners from retail trade in the country.
Section 27(1) of GIPC Act 865 highlights activities that foreign investors are not permitted to invest or participate in, including the sale of goods or provision of services in a market, petty trading, hawking or selling of goods in a stall at any place.
Against this backdrop, local authorities have, on multiple occasions, moved in to shut down operations of businesses which they believed were flouting this directive.
But President of the Nigeria Union of Traders Association (NUTAG), Chukwuemeka Nnaji has called on the High Commission to come to their aid.
“Our shops have been closed for over 10 months now in the Circle area. We have done everything to be able to sustain our families. We can’t pay our children’s school fees and our rents are expiring,” one of the protesters said.
We are here to plead with the High Commissioner to make Ghana’s government reopen our shops.
Acting High Commissioner, Esther Arewa who received their petition and pledged to do his best in getting their concerns addressed.
“When I got the news that you people are coming, I had to also make a fast phone call. The information I got was that its up there at the Presidency. So we are hoping that very soon, your situation will be addressed.”
She assured that the Commission will liaise with the Nigerian government and expressed commitment towards helping resolve the matter.
“Its a government-to-government dialogue and I believe that very soon, by the grace of God, we will get to the end of this matter and we all be at peace on Jesus name,” she added.