Traders protest at ECOWAS over closure of Nigerian businesses in Ghana

The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) on Monday protested at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Asokoro, and also at the Ghanaian High Commission Abuja, against alleged discriminative closure of businesses belonging to Nigerians in Ghana.

The protest which started early morning paralyzed activities at the ECOWAS Secretariat and Asokoro area as the protesters marched through the streets.

The protesters, mostly women bear placards with various inscriptions such as ‘We need ECOWAS intervention’, ‘Ghana re-open Nigerians shops now’, ‘ECOWAS, the situation in Ghana is totally unacceptable’, and ‘Ghana wants AFCTA secretariat but clamps on African traders’ among others.

The President of NANTS, Barrister Ken Ukaoha, said that the association is protesting the alleged victimisation of Nigerian businessmen in Ghana.

According to him, the development is so bad that a law was recently passed by the Ghanaian parliament seeking to make the business environment hostile to foreign investors, asking them to have a minimum of $1m capital investment before they can operate businesses in the country.

“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,” Ukaoha said.

The association gave ECOWAS Commission a one-week ultimatum to intervene and resolve the matter, adding that if nothing was done, the association would deploy all its members to occupy the ECOWAS Secretariat complex and conduct their businesses there.

He said the ECOWAS President, Jean-Claude Brou, had also been petitioned over the development, saying that the development had led to a Nigerian woman trader committing suicide after she was ejected from her shop and her business closed down.

He said, “In August 2018, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, GIPC and Ghana Union of Traders Association in a joint operation established a task force with specific mandate to clamp down on Nigerian traders and which had eventually resulted in the ongoing closure of over 400 Nigerian traders’ shops and lawfully established businesses in Kumasi, Ashanti region of Ghana.

“Our members are shut out of their business premises in pursuance of the eviction order dated July 27, 2018 demanding that we must have $1 million as minimum foreign investment capital to do business in Ghana.”

At the Ghanaian High Commission, the Consular Officer, Mr. Eric Duodu, who received the protesters, commended them for their peaceful conducts.

He promised to relate their demands to the Ghanaian government to see how best to resolve the issue.

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