The Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG), under the auspices of the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), has appealed to the Federal Government to immediately evacuate Nigerian traders stranded in Ghana.
Mr Chukwuemeka Nnaji, NUTAG President and Dr Ken Ukaoha, NANTS President, made this appeal on Wednesday when the associations visited the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adebayo, in Abuja.
They told newsmen after their meeting with the minister that the appeal became necessary because of frustrations and impoverishment of Nigerian traders as result of closure of their shops by Ghanaian authorities.
Ukaoha said, “As traders, this is our mother ministry, and that is why we have come to meet with the minister and convey our final decision to be safely evacuated from Ghana.
“Nigerian traders in Ghana are being tortured, intimidated, harassed, apart from being subjected to all manners of frustrations by the government and people of Ghana since 2007.
“Imagine our businesses being under lock and key for several months by Ghanaian authorities. Some traders who borrowed money from banks to transact businesses cannot pay back and some goods getting expired.
“Having consciously reviewed our situation and counted the costs, we have solemnly resolved to leave Ghana in peace before it is too late.
“Particularly to avoid our members being compelled by nature into criminal activities or shamefully turning to beggars on the streets of Ghana as survival strategies that will demean Nigeria’s integrity among the comity of nations.
“We are therefore appealing to our government to make necessary arrangements to organise and embark on immediate evacuation of our members and investments from Ghana,” he said.
Ukaoha further said that the traders wanted the Federal Government to take necessary steps to liaise with relevant Ghanaian authorities to ensure that their goods and properties are safeguarded and moved back to Nigeria.
He said it is sad that their shops still remained locked after many traders had complied with the laws in Ghana, although the laws contradict the provisions of the ECOWAS treaty and protocols.
Ukaoha, however, commended the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana, for its relentless efforts and dialogue with the Ghanaian government towards resolving the matter.
“There have been litany of diplomatic dialogue and several engagements initiated by the government of Nigeria and had taken place on the same subject matter without any tangible solution,” he said.
On his part, Nnaji said: “As traders we need to generate money to renew rents, pay school fees, settle bills, but we cannot because our shops have been locked up.
“We want to come back home because our children can no longer return to school and landlords are demanding for rents when our shops have been locked.
“There are about 753 Nigerian traders who are ready to come home as first batch of evacuees from Ghana,” he said.
According to him, the Ghanaian government is relying on the Ghana Investment Promotion Act 865 to make a requirement for each Nigerian trader to bring into Ghana a cash sum of US$1 million.
He added that the alternative is the equivalent of the sum in equity before being allowed to start a business or to continue doing business in the retail sector in Ghana.