The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola has waded in as the harassment of Nigerian traders in Ghana has continued to surge.
The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) on Monday the Federal Government to take the matter of harassment of Nigerian traders in Ghana to the ECOWAS court for adjudication.
Dr Ken Ukaoha, NANTS National President, made the call on Monday in Abuja when he led a delegation of the association, including some Nigerian traders in Ghana, to the Minister of Interior, Mr, Rauf Aregbesola to explore ways of resolving the crisis.
Ukaoha told Newsmen after discussing with the minister that they were at the ministry because the traders in Ghana were deemed as migrants and, therefore the Nigerian Immigration Service, as part of the Interior ministry, had a role to play in the matter.
“The journey to the ministry was to lay our grievance and resolution to the minister in recognition of the fact that the traders are Nigerians and, therefore, require absolute security wherever they may find ourselves.
“We feel strongly that reciprocity is part of diplomacy and so we are challenging government to rise up to the occasion, because we have had enough,” he said.
Ukaoha recalled the Xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa few months ago, the molestation and harassment of Nigerians in Lebanon, and the sufferings of Nigerians in Libya.
“Today, Nigerian traders in Ghana are passing through torture, intimidation and molestation of the highest magnitude, if we react proportionately to the kind of pressure we are getting from Ghanaian authorities and their citizens it may lead to civil war.
“Imagine our businesses being under lock and key for several months by Ghanaian authorities, these are means of livelihood of people, some traders borrowed money from banks to transact business, some goods are expiring and they are all locked up.
“The traders need to generate money to renew rents, pay school fees, settle bills, but they cannot because their means of livelihood are under lock and key’’, he said.
Ukaoha expressed sadness that many of the traders had complied with the laws in Ghana, which are contradictory with provisions of the ECOWAS treaty and protocols, and yet their businesses still remained under lock and key.
Responding, the minister assured the delegation of the government’s efforts made to resolve the matter, saying that the Federal Government was not keeping quiet but would use diplomatic means to deal with the matter.
Meanwhile, Aregbesola posted on Tuesday on his official Facebook page stating that: “Late yesterday night, I received a petition from the delegation of the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) and it’s affiliate association in Ghana led by the president, Dr. Ken Ukaoha.
“We discussed at length the plight of our Traders in Ghana who are passing through intimidation and molestation. I also informed them the steps government was taking to resolve the issues. @ Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria.”
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