NOT less than 160 businesses belonging to Nigerian traders in Ghana are still locked by the Ghanaian authorities, the Nigeria Union of Traders in Ghana (NUTAG), has said.
It urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps to end the ordeal of the traders.
President of NUTAG, Mr Chukwuemeka Nnaji, who spoke yesterday in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN, added that “they have continued to lock up our businesses, including our warehouses, and also harass our business partners.
“This implies that they really want us to run out of basic supplies like food or other amenities of life.
“We are appealing to our government to help so that Nigerian traders here will not die of hunger.”
He reiterated that an Inter-ministerial Task Force on Aug. 10 moved round the country to identify shops owned by Nigerians and requested that such businesses be registered for the purpose of raising tax.
Also, they requested for resident permit, standard control and Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) registration.
He noted that most Nigerian traders do not have the GIPC registration, which cost as much as $1million or in equity, adding that they were given 14 days ultimatum to regularise the demands.
The NUTAG president said the closure of the businesses had destroyed the owners’ means of livelihood hence the need for the Federal Government to help.
“We are ready to return to Nigeria if that is the only option; we are not violating any law in Ghana, but Ghanaian authorities are treating us like outcasts in their dealings with us.
“They are denying us our rights by delaying the renewal of our resident permit and increasing and introducing new fees every now and then,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe described t6he action as an endorsement of xenophobic attacks.
In a statement by his Media Adviser, Uchenna Awom, the senator closure of Nigerians’ shops as “criminal and very disturbing”
Abaribe said: “The authorities in that country need to prove us wrong by putting a halt to further closure of the shops and attacks on Nigerians in compliance to the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS) protocol.
”So what’s the point having an economic community if at the end of the day each country resolves to make laws and regulations that are in contradiction with the binding protocol.
“This is quite absurd as it negates the spirit that propelled the formation of ECOWAS in the first place”, Abaribe said.