Those who believe they are expressing righteous indignation over maltreatment of Nigerians in Ghana would do well to bear in mind the age old Pidgin-English adage which says “if wall no fall, how goat for take climb am?” The means in effect that it’s only when people bring themselves low, they he can be trampled upon. The truth about the poor treatment of Nigerians living in Ghana is that the nation has sunk so low as to allow its citizens to be ridiculed and trampled upon by our erstwhile “Brothers”.
Nigerians are fond of ego-tripping and claiming to be the “Giant of Africa” which they are not in any worthwhile assessment other than fake census figures. Nigeria has become little more than a whimpering child in terms of economic and social development and the simple truth is that the nation no longer commands respect in the global arena. On an almost daily basis Nigerians are being jailed or sentenced to death all over the world for all manner of crimes. Despite its large land mass and abundance of mineral resources greed, ethnicity, incompetence and corruption have long since reduced the nation to nothingness in the eyes of its neighbors.
As a result its Nigerians are now being humiliated and treated with disdain by small countries that once used to accord them respect. Ghanaian authorities complain that Nigerians have become a nuisance in their country and a law unto themselves. Between 2018 and 2019, it was reported that 723 Nigerians were deported from Ghana for alleged cybercrime, prostitution, anti-social behavior and general lawlessness. They reportedly block major roads to hold parties, fight and get drunk in public and exhibit all forms of unruly behavior with little respect for the host nation’s societal conventions.
Quite incredibly Nigerians are reportedly responsible for 90% of crimes in Ghana, and the resentment against them grows daily. The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana said that while the Federal Government doesn’t condone criminality on the part of Nigerians, inhuman treatment and torture of Nigerians in Ghana would not be tolerated. Ghanaian authorities quite insolently replied that their police treat Nigerians much better than the Nigerian Police force does! This is indeed the truth as the Nigerian Government seems unable to put a stop to inhuman treatment, torture and even extra-judicial killing of its citizens by police within its shores. The Ghanaian resentment against Nigerians is understandable.
President Shehu Shagari’s 1983 “Ghana Must Go” saga still remains fresh in their minds. Back then Ghanaians were forcibly expelled from Nigeria and as they left not only were many of them assaulted by an ill-disciplined Nigerian Police Force, but even more tragically many of them drowned while trying to cross the sea in overcrowded boats. To be fair this expulsion was not the first between the two nations. In 1969 many Nigerians were deported from Ghana under the Aliens Compliance Order of Kofi Busia’s government. Back then the problem was that Nigerians were considered as economic threats to the Ghanaian economy, not criminals. These days Ghanaians believe that Nigerians are trooping into their country to run away from the mess Nigeria has become and either commit crime or take over their women and their businesses! In addition to the undeniable criminal element, the emigration out of Nigeria to Ghana has cost the nation many of its factories and businesses, and some of its brightest and most able brains.
The majority of Nigerians occupying professional jobs in Ghana would love to return home but are understandably not prepared to face the many obstacles placed in the way of living a decent life in their own country. A major problem is the political climate which despite pretensions to democracy, is still riddled with corruption and lack of transparency. The abysmal condition of infrastructure in Nigeria also keeps Nigerians in Ghana where there is almost constant light, running tap water, decent roads, and an almost pristine environment. Nigerians who do venture to return from Ghana and other nations discover a pile of empty boasts by government, and fellow citizens who are eager to cheat them of whatever savings they have garnered!
The Federal government needs to stop posturing and think deeply about why Nigerians are always looking to escape from the nation. Nigeria cannot be the Giant of Africa if the major aspiration of the majority of Nigerians is to escape from our shores and not look back! Nigerian authorities should concentrate on making the country more attractive to its citizens so they can assist in national development. Regrettably successive governments have given little support to employers or small-scale businesses, have allowed the environment to degrade uncontrollably, allowed the educational system to collapse to the extent that all senior government officials send their children to school overseas, and allowed the medical system to collapses to the extent that the President himself doesn’t trust Nigerian hospitals to treat him. When Nigerians now go to Ghana for medical treatment, sound education, business opportunities, and a decent environment then truly the wall has fallen letting goat climb it!