Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has said that Nigeria’s border closure is not the reason for the Ghanaian Government attacking shops owned by Nigerian traders in Ghana this year.
She disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Monday.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported in August that Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said that Nigeria’s border closure in 2019 has hurt Ghanaians and nearly bankrupted many Ghanaian export businesses after their goods were stuck in the Seme Border for months. The Minister stated, in a series of tweets reacting to the recent shutdown of Nigerian-owned shops by Ghanaian authorities.
The Ghanaian government announced it imposed the $1million levy on traders in the country, including Nigeria, due to certain steps taken by the Nigerian government to protect the former’s interest.
Nairametrics reported in August that the Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, lamented that the closure of Nigerian shops contravened ECOWAS’ trade protocols and called for a decisive solution between both countries.
While speaking during the interview, Dabiri-Erewa said that Ghana closing Nigerian shops was due to their inability to compete with Nigerians. She added that if the reason for the attack was due to border closure, Nigerian banks operating in Ghana would have been closed too.
“We are talking of people that have been living in your country, working very well for years. Now, I’ll ask you something; if it has to do with the borders, why didn’t they send away the big industries in Ghana; we have six banks in Ghana. Why didn’t they tell them to leave, if they are afraid of border closure? There is the gas pipeline going to Ghana, why don’t you cut it off?
“And I think it boils down to this lack of trust and some kind of complex. Because, these Nigerian traders sell their goods at cheaper prices; you know, Nigerians are very industrious. So the reality is that the Ghanaian traders say it is really difficult to compete with the Nigerian traders. So, let’s leave the issue of border closure.
“This thing has been on for years. In New York, three years ago, Mr. President, took up with the Ghanaian President, and he gave an assurance that they are sorry about it and will open the shops. Then they opened and closed again, to their whims and caprices. I’m sure you will agree with me that we can’t continue like this,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
She revealed that a delegation of Nigerian traders in Ghana has expressed intentions to return to Nigeria and that the FG is working to see what it can do. She added that the shops’ closure was due to political games in Ghana’s election season.
“The delegation is in Nigeria to tell the government that they want to return, and 753 actually signed the document that says they want to return to Nigeria.
“Let’s face it, the President of Ghana will not want to go against his own citizens. And majority of the Ghanaian traders have said ‘we don’t want them’. So after the elections, maybe they will now open. But they will close again. So they can’t be pawns in a game of chess in Ghana,” she said.