The Nigerian Government has issued a stern warning to Ghana that it will not tolerate the “incessant harassment of its citizens in Ghana and the progressive acts of hostility towards the country by Ghanaian authorities, and will no longer tolerate such.”
The unequivocal statement issued by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture is coming in the heels of systematic harassment of foreign retailers by Ghanaian security agents.
These security agents have forcefully closed down shops of foreigners, particularly Nigerians engaged in small scale retail business in Ghana, claiming they need a minimum capital of US$ 1 million before they would be allowed to resume business.
The outrageous price tag has shocked many Nigerian traders, many of who argue that they duly registered their businesses in Ghana and are taking advantage of the ECOWAS treaties that allow free trade and movement between member countries.
Others argue that if they could raise US$ 1 million for their small-scale retail business, they will have no need to be operating in Ghana, as the amount is a fortune they may never be able to achieve in their lifetime.
According to the statement issued in Abuja on August 28, 2020, the Nigerian says it has been documenting the acts of hostility against its citizens by Ghanaian authorities.
In their catalogue, the Nigerians recalled the seizure of the Nigerian High Commission’s property located in Accra, saying they have been using the particular property for over 50 years before the incident.
“This action is a serious breach of the Vienna Convention,” Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated.
The list includes what Nigeria describes as the “aggressive and incessant deportation of Nigerians from Ghana. Between Jan. 2018 and Feb. 2019, 825 Nigerians were deported from.”
Others are closure of shops belonging to Nigerians; media war against Nigerians in Ghana; Harsh and openly-biased judicial trial and pronouncement of indiscriminately-long jail terms for convicted Nigerians, among several others.
“The Federal Government will like to put on record the fact that even though over 1 million Ghanaians are resident in Nigeria, they are not being subjected to the kind of hostility being meted out to Nigerians in Ghana,” read the statement.
“Nigeria has time after time demonstrated its fidelity to the long cordial relations with Ghana. But indications, especially in recent times, are that Nigeria’s stance is now being taken for granted and its citizens being made targets of harassment and objects of ridicule. This will no longer be tolerated under any guise.”