The Ghanaian Minister of Information, Kojo Nkrumah, on Sunday, made a case for the $1 million trade levy and other regulations foisted on Nigerian traders in Ghana. He said everything they did was in accordance with pursuing its national interests.
The minister noted that Nigeria had equally issued executive orders preventing foreigners from getting jobs that Nigerians can do. He questioned the rationale behind tagging Ghanaian laws as outrageous when Nigeria had also taken some steps to protect her national interest.
According to ThePunch report, Nkrumah argued that the closure of the Seme Krake borders since August 2019 was part of the steps the Nigerian government had taken to protect its interest and such he said, had affected neighbouring countries.
He accused Nigerian traders in Ghana of gross violations of retail trade laws, including tax evasion, immigration offences, and selling substandard products. And that as a result of the widespread abuse and disregard for local laws by some foreigners, Nigerians included, his country’s government decided that things need to be addressed.
Nkrumah’s reaction came as a result of a statement made by Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, that the Nigerian Government would no longer tolerate continuous harassment of its citizens in Ghana.
In his statement last Friday, Mohammed had listed various acts of aggression against Nigeria and its citizens by the Ghanaian authorities, including the take over of some Nigerian diplomatic properties, discriminatory deportation of 825 Nigerians within one year, and harsh jail sentences on Nigerian nationals.
However, his Ghanaian counterpart faulted Mohammed’s claims that 825 Nigerians were deported between January 2018 and February 2019. Rather, he explained that 700 Nigerians involved in fraud, prostitution, and armed robbery were deported from Ghana.
Nkrumah stated, “The Federal Republic (Nigeria), on the other hand, is on record to have taken a number of steps in recent months, in pursuit of her national interests, which have gravely affected other countries in the region.
“These include the closure of Nigeria’s Seme Krake border from August 2019 to date and the issuance of executive orders by Nigeria’s Presidency preventing foreigners from getting jobs which Nigerians can do, to mention a few.”
In a four-page statement as he reacts to the claims made by Mohammed one by one.
Nkrumah stated that his counterpart’s assertion on the alleged seizure of Nigerian Mission property located at No. 10, Barnes road, Accra, was incorrect, noting that the land was acquired by Nigeria from a private citizen, Thomas Hardy, on October 23, 1959.
The minister explained that the commercial lease on the land expired 46 years ago without any evidence of renewal by the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana.
“The Government of Ghana was not involved in the transaction and had not seized the property in question,” the minister stressed.
In response to the claim that the lease on some of the properties owned by the Ghana Mission in Nigeria had expired, Nkrumah explained that Accra had acquired a freehold land at Pope John Paul Street, Maitama, Abuja, through a commercial arrangement in 1989 and built a residential structure for the staff.
He stated that the residential building on the Nigerian Mission premises in Accra demolished in June was carried out by a representative of the Osu traditional stool and had nothing to do with the government.
On the high residency permit levies, including the $120 for COVID-19 test imposed by the authorities, Ghana stated that this applied to all foreigners and not just Nigerians.
The minister assured that the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, would engage with his counterpart, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and develop a framework for validating the claims of ill-treatment of citizens of either country and ensure they enjoy the full exercise of their rights while respecting the sovereignty and laws of both countries. Source: ThePunch
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