Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), says border closure has nothing to do with the situation being experienced by Nigerian traders in Ghana.
Shops belonging to Nigerians in Ghana have been shut by authorities who demanded evidence of their Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) registration.
The GIPC states that a minimum foreign equity investment of $1,000,000 must be made for general trading in addition to a 31,500 cedis registration fee.
In August, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana’s foreign affairs minister, had questioned the existence of an economic community if Nigeria could shut her borders without notice.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, a programme on Channels Television, Dabiri-Erewa said: “They are not the same thing actually. There’s a reason why borders were closed. You can’t be bringing in small arms and ammunition and all that and Nigeria will not take action”.
“We are talking of people that have been living in your country, working very well for years. Now, I’ll ask you something; if it has to do with the borders, why didn’t they send away the big industries in Ghana; we have six banks in Ghana. Why didn’t they tell them to leave, if they are afraid of border closure? There is the gas pipeline going to Ghana, why don’t you cut it off?
“And I think it boils down to this lack of trust and some kind of complex. Because, these Nigerian traders sell their goods at cheaper prices; you know, Nigerians are very industrious. So the reality is that the Ghanian traders say it is really difficult to compete with the Nigerian traders. And they’ve put it in one million dollars to almost impossible for traders to . . . so let’s leave the issue of the border closure.
“This thing has been on for years. In New York, three years ago, Mr President, took up with the Ghanaian President, and he gave an assurance that they are sorry about it and will open the shops. Then they open and close again, to their whims and caprices. I’m sure you will agree with me that we can’t continue like this.”
Muhammadu Buhari and Nana Akufo-Addo, the Nigerian and Ghanian presidents, have held deliberations on the matter but the situation has not been resolved.
Over 700 Nigerian traders recently wrote a letter to NIDCOM requesting to be evacuated from Ghana.
Nigeria and Ghana are both members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).