- Ghana’s minister for foreign affairs and regional integration, Shirley Ayorkor-Botchwey, says Nigerian traders were not affected by her country’s recent quit notice to foreigners to vacate its retail markets
- She said the quit notice only applied to other nationals outside the ECOWAS bloc
- Her Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, also gave the assurance that the Ghanaian govt is very much on top of the situation
Shirley Ayorkor-Botchwey, Ghana’s minister for foreign affairs and regional integration, has disclosed that the recent quit notice to foreigners to vacate the country’s retail markets did not affect Nigerian traders and other ECOWAS nationals.
She made the disclosure known in Abuja on Monday, August 6, during a courtesy visit to her Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, Vanguard reports.
NAIJ.com notes that on Wednesday, July 11, foreign nationals engaged in retail business in Ghana were issued a quit notice to vacate the country’s markets, because Ghanaian law reserves operation of retail business only for citizens.
The National Association of Nigerian Traders had warned that the quit notice could ignite xenophobic attacks.
However, Botchwey stated: “This has nothing to do with our ECOWAS brothers and sisters. It was more to do with other nationals.
“Yes, there is a problem that Nigerians and other ECOWAS citizens have been caught up in this issue of traders being given quit notice to exit our markets with their retail trade which is, by the law of Ghana, reserved for Ghanaians.
“Our government is doing what it can; sitting with the Ghana Traders Association to ensure that there is that understanding that it has nothing to do with Nigerian and other ECOWAS traders.”
On his part, Onyeama stated: “The minister’s visit was to assure the government and the people of Nigeria that the government of Ghana is on top of the situation and would resolve the issue.”
He further said the Ghanaian minister explained that the outcry had been prompted by nationals from outside Africa who had been installing themselves in the Ghanaian retail business; and not ECOWAS nationals.
He added: "The government of Ghana is not happy about that because they want to be in strict compliance with all their obligations under the ECOWAS Protocol of Free Movement of Persons, Goods and Services.
“They are particularly keen that in no way should it result in any targeting of Nigerians, any xenophobia against Nigerians. So, the government, in fact, the president himself, is personally engaged in addressing the situation.
“For her to travel, to fly here to meet with me for one hour, I think, demonstrated the concern of the Ghanaian government that Nigeria should in no way interpret this as some kind of xenophobia against Nigerians.
“This is also to assure us that the government is very much on top of this and will hopefully resolve the situation very quickly.”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously re-examined the repatriation of up to one million illegal immigrants by Nigeria, back to Ghana.
The year was 1983 and Nigeria had just ordered the massive return of illegal migrants from the country back to Ghana.
The move seemed incredible as Nigeria and Ghana were supposed to be considered best neighbours and their relationship dated back to the pre-colonial period.
Which country would you leave Nigeria for? - on NAIJ.com TV: