Border closure: Ghana orders Nigerians to leave their markets

Border closure: Ghana orders Nigerians to leave their markets

Nigerians doing business in Ghana have been asked to quit their shops by Thursday, November 14, 2019, or be forcibly evicted in apparent retaliation a

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Nigerians doing business in Ghana have been asked to quit their shops by Thursday, November 14, 2019, or be forcibly evicted in apparent retaliation against the Federal Government’s closure of the borders. The ultimatum was issued by the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) and the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association (GEDA).

One of the notices sighted yesterday at strategic locations in markets across Ghana, especially in Kumasi, reads in capital letters: “Attention! Attention! Attention! According to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Law Act 865 Section 27A, you are not to be in our market. We are by this notice informing you to leave our market by 14th November 2019. By GUTA.”

A Nigerian trader in Ghana said, “They have closed some of the shops and threatened to close the shops belonging to Nigerians before November 14. They are angry because of Nigeria’s border closure, which has affected their businesses. The threat and notice for Nigerians to quit their market premises have been on for about 15 years now. They have increased the cost of getting a work permit and taxation of Nigerian businesses in order to frustrate them. Even when you pay for all these, it might take, at least, three months to get back your international passport.”

According to a recent report by the BBC, “More than 100 foreign-owned shops are getting shut down by Ghanaian traders in the country’s second-largest city, Kumasi. Most of the shops are run by Nigerians. The traders shutting down the shops say they’re being run illegally but the shop owners deny this.”

Representatives of the Accra and Abuja governments reportedly met on Monday, November 4, 2019, to discuss the possibilities of opening Nigeria’s border to Ghanaian traders. The border was closed in August 2019 to prevent the smuggling of products from neighbouring West African countries. Many trucks have since been stranded at the Seme border. Over the weekend, the Nigerian government announced that the restriction would remain till January 31, 2020.

Ghana’s deputy trade and industry minister, Carlos Ahenkorah, while speaking on The Big Issue over the weekend said he was hopeful that both parties would reach an agreement to facilitate trade.

The president of Nigeria Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG), Chukwuemeka Nnaji, had earlier told The Guardian that despite the provisions of ECOWAS protocols, Ghana’s use of its GIPC Act 865, Section 27 (1a) of 2013, flouts the provisions on rules of engagement. He said while Ghana continues to enjoy the privileges conferred on ECOWAS citizens in the region, the government and its people keep prohibiting other citizens from doing the same in Ghana.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has halted the supply of petroleum products to filling stations within 20 kilometres of all the land borders. The directive might not be unconnected with allegations that operators of some border filling stations were conniving with criminals to smuggle fuel to neighbouring countries.