Nigerian traders in Ghana have reported that the frequent closure of their shops is a disregard to the free trade treaty of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The traders’ outburst followed last week’s shutdown of over 30 shops in Accra, Ghana’s capital which took over 48 hours to be reopened.
Lamenting the alleged mistreatment, the traders said they have been made to suffer huge losses each time their business outlets were shut down by locals.
They said whenever they reported the action to the local police, their tormentors would stop for a while only to return much later fiercer.
According to the National President, Nigerian Union of Traders in Ghana Mr. Chukwuemeka Nnaji, the government of Ghana had not shown enough commitment towards the ECOWAS free trade treaty.
He said should they have, Ghanaians would not continue to torment Nigerian traders out of sheer jealousy, adding that other foreign nationals were not being hounded.
Nnaji, who spoke on behalf of the traders during a visit of the Nigerian community in Ghana to the two NN ships that were in the country for the 60th anniversary of the Ghanaian Navy, said over 400 shops were earlier closed at Kumasi and reopened following the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He appealed to the President to speak with his Ghanaian counterpart for a lasting solution to the problem, adding that if Ghanaians no longer want Nigerians in their country they should come out openly and say so.
He said: “We have had the issues with the Ghanaian traders for a very long time. The issue is just that they do not want us to stay in Ghana to do business. They want us to go back home.
“They found out that we are in the minority and they want to attack us all the time. The last attack was last Monday; over 30 shops were closed in Accra. We negotiated and we were able to open it on Wednesday.
“We called the police and they came in and talked to the locals. There is no reason. It is just that we are Nigerians living in Ghana and doing our businesses. We have this issue in all the regions even in Accra we have about three flashpoints including where phones and accessories are sold.
“It is done by the locals not the government. The locals do not know how to compete favourably. They resort to jealousy against Nigerian traders.
“In this particular place where they closed Nigerian traders’ shops, we have just about 30 or 40 outlets out of thousands. There are Chinese, Lebanese trading there as well but they didn’t attack their shops. It was only Nigerians.
“They keep threatening us. Sometimes, they will give Nigerian traders two weeks or week notice to quit. You can wake up one morning and they tell you not to open your shop for business.’’