By Deji Elumoye
The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has described the recent closure of hundreds of shops belonging to Nigerians in Ghana by the Ghanaian authorities as a clear case of official endorsement of xenophobia.
Abaribe, in a press release that was issued yesterday by his Spokesman, Mr. Uchenna Awom, stated that the latest acts against Nigerian traders in Ghana were also criminal and very disturbing.
He said that Ghana’s action against nationals of other countries, particularly Nigerians, points to state endorsement of xenophobic attacks.
“The authorities in that country needs to prove us wrong by putting a halt to further closure of the shops and attacks on Nigerians in compliance to the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS) protocol,” he said.
According to him, the latest actions of the Ghanaian government called to question their real intentions towards Nigeria and Nigerians, despite the fact that Nigeria had through her Foreign Affairs Minister, reached an agreement with Ghana Investment Promotion Council on this matter.
“And now they are reopening the matter. So, what has changed? Nigeria, I believe, has done her best in the promotion of good neighbourlines. It is now Ghana’s turn to reciprocate and allow our people in that country to carry out their legitimate businesses unhindered,” Abaribe stated.
He described Ghana’s recent regulations, which stipulated that retail trade is the exclusive preserve of Ghanaians, as a willful denigration of sub-regional brotherhood and one that is in clear conflict with ECOWAS protocol.
“So, what’s the point having a economic community if at the end of the day each country resolves to make laws and regulations that are in contradiction with the binding protocol. This is quite absurd as it negates the spirit that propelled the formation of ECOWAS in the first place”, Abaribe added.
The ranking senator urged the ECOWAS secretariat to brace up and come clear in the prevailing circumstances in order to address the member-country’s behaviour and it’s far reaching implications in its protocol, particularly the issue of free trade and movement among the peoples of the West African sub-region.