The Federal Government has faulted the closure of the business premises belonging to Nigerians by the Ghanaian authorities, saying it may consider retaliatory actions.
The government also said that it may drag Ghana to the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States, if found to have breached the sub-region’s Protocol of Free Movement of Peoples.
Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, disclosed this on Monday when he met with officials of the League of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria, led by Jasper Emenike, its president.
Emenike, who briefed the minister on the state of affairs as it affected Nigerian traders in Ghana, called for the intervention of the federal government.
Nigerian traders had lamented the closure of their shops over failure to register with the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC).
Chukwuemeka Nnaji, president of the Nigerian Traders Union in Ghana, had explained that shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Accra were locked up by authorities who demanded evidence of their GIPC registration — for general trading, the requirement is $1,000,000 minimum foreign equity, while registration fee is 31,500 Cedis.
According to Onyeama, the issue will be taken up with the Ghanaian authorities, and the federal government may also explore the final option of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court.
“What is the point of having an economic community if at the end of the day, each country will make laws and regulations that are in contradiction with the protocol? That is an issue that needs to be addressed,” Onyeama said.
“We have the intention of calling our Charge D’Affaires in Ghana for consultation and again to get to the fact. We don’t want to anticipate what our actions would be, but we will consider all the options depending on the facts.
“Clearly, if it is contravening ECOWAS protocol, then we would have to look at solution, including the ECOWAS court as the final arbiter.
“We will also consider the issue of reciprocity in terms of the concrete measures that will be applied. We are following the matter very closely and we want the matter to be addressed within the shortest possible time.”
On Monday, the minister also met with Iva Denoo, the Chargé D’Affaires of Ghana to Nigeria, to also protest the forceful closure of the shops of Nigerian traders in Ghana, and to demand an urgent resolution.