The National Association of Nigerian Traders NANTS, yesterday staged a protest at the ECOWAS Commission, Asokoro, Abuja, over alleged closure of businesses belonging to Nigerians in Ghana.
The protest which started at 9:30am affected activities at the ECOWAS Secretariat and Asokoro area.
The protesters marched through the streets of Yakubu Gowon way in Asokoro, a development that led to traffic gridlock along the Asokoro axis.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as: “We need ECOWAS intervention,” “Ghana re-open Nigeria’s shops now,” “ECOWAS, the situation in Ghana is totally unacceptable,” “Ghana wants AFCTA secretariat but clamps on African traders,” among others.
Addressing newsmen on why they decided to stage the protest, the President of NANTS, Barrister Ken Ukaoha, said that the association was protesting the alleged victimisation of Nigerian businessmen in Ghana.
He said that the development had gotten so bad that a law was recently passed by the Ghanaian parliament seeking to make the business environment hostile to foreign investors.
He said, “Since Ghana is a signatory to the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of goods and services, there is a need for the commission to caution the government of Ghana.”
ECOWAS vice president,Madam Finda Koroma who received the petition on behalf of the Commission promised to contact Ghanaian authorities and resolve the matter as soon as possible.
She sympathized with NANTS over the closure of businesses of Nigerians in Ghana, but more importantly, commiserated with the association over the death of one of her members who committed suicide in Ghana over the continuous closure of her business which is her only source of livelihood.
Ukaoha also said that at the Ghana high commission, the petition was received by the Snr Counselor, Eric Daodu as the High Commissioner was not available,with a promise to send the message to the government of Ghana for urgent action.
The association gave ECOWAS Commission one week ultimatum to intervene in the matter, adding that if nothing is done, the association would deploy all its members to occupy the Commission.
It would be recalled that, in August, when Nigerian Traders in Ghana and the Nigerian government raised eyebrow on the new trade law, that tends to be detrimental to foreign traders, the Ghanaian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor-Botchwey, who was then, on a visit to the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, swiftly dispelled the notion, insisting that Nigerian traders are not affected by the recent notice to foreigners to quit the country’s retail markets.
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