Are Nigerians In Ghana Foreigners?

Last week attack on Nigerians traders in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi, has once again brought the fore the need for the government to define who a foreigner is.

The attacks on shops belonging to our brothers from Nigeria, has become a recurring decimal. In June this year, Nigerian owned shops in Suame were ransacked by raucous Ghanaian youths.

The vandalisation of the shops was to register their displeasure against a decision by the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) to reopen closed Nigerian retail shops.

Angry GUTA members on Thursday locked up shops owned by Nigerians in Kumasi. They cite Ghanaian laws to justify their action, insisting that they have been left with no choice than to move into the markets and lock the shops up themselves because the law enforcement agencies fail to do their work.

GUTA says foreign retailers flout section 27 of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865.

In enforcing our laws members of GUTA, also breached all known laws, including Ecowas protocols.

In the strictest sense, Nigerians cannot and should not be classified as foreigners. We are one people in Africa, only separated by borders.

It is unfortunate that, Ghanaian traders have to resort to this action to also register their pleasure over the land border closure by the Nigerian Authourities.

The exercise, code-named, ‘Ex-Swift Response’, was being jointly conducted by the customs, immigration, police and military personnel and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

When the decision was first taken, in August the action was meant to last for 28 days, but it is in the third month now and no one knows when the borders will be re-opened.

The PTML command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said that it has recorded a 29.4 percent increase in revenue for the month of September, a month after their government, announced the partial closure of land borders.

The command recorded an increased revenue from N12.6 billion in August to N13.3 billion in September, making a 29.4 percent increment.

Having thrown the first stone to protect the interest of its citizens, GUTA, could no longer wait for Ghanaian authourities, who have not relented to ensure that the federal government of Nigeria, rescinds its decision and open the borders.

Lee Kuan Yew performed a miracle transforming Singapore from one of the poorest countries in the world in the 1960s to being among the most advanced today.

To achieve his dream, he had to change the mindset of that country’s population of around two million people. Singaporeans had to be more welcoming to immigrants if the country were to grow.

Ghana and Nigeria, have had fruitful relationship that dates back many years. Whatever differences that is threatening that relationship can be resolved.

For sanity to prevail, we call on the Authourities of both countries to learn the example of Singapore. As it is said no country is an island.

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