Harassment of Nigerians: FG Gives Ghana Last Warning

August 28, 2020
Nigeria and Ghana

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The incessant harassment of Nigerian citizens in Ghana by locals will no longer be tolerated, the federal government has warned its West African neighbour.

A statement issued in Abuja on Friday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, said this warning was given because it was “deeply concerned” by the constant “progressive acts of hostility towards the country by Ghanaian authorities.”

According to the Minister, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was “urgently considering a number of options aimed at ameliorating the situation.”

He said even though over one million Ghanaians are resident in Nigeria, they are not being subjected to the kind of hostility being meted out to Nigerians in Ghana.

“Also, even though the main reason given for the seizure of federal government property at ‪No. 10, Barnes Road in Accra is the non-renewal of the lease after expiration, the Ghanaian authorities did not give Nigeria the right of first refusal or the notice to renew the lease.

“By contrast, the lease on some of the properties occupied by the Ghanaian Mission in Nigeria has long expired, yet such properties have not been seized.

“Nigeria has time after time demonstrated its fidelity to the long cordial relations with Ghana. But indications, especially in recent times, are that Nigeria’s stance is now being taken for granted and its citizens being made targets of harassment and objects of ridicule.

“This will no longer be tolerated under any guise.

“In the meantime, the federal government wishes to appeal to its citizens resident in Ghana to remain law-abiding and avoid engaging in self-help, despite their ordeal,” the Information Minister said.

In the statement, Mr Mohammed said the federal government has been documenting the acts of hostility towards Nigeria and Nigerians by the Ghanaian authorities.

He named one of them as the seizure of the Nigerian Mission’s property, which the Nigerian government has used as diplomatic premises for almost 50 years, saying the action was a “serious breach of the Vienna Convention.”

He also said the Ghanaian government was aggressive towards Nigerians and even deported about 825 Nigerians between January 2018 and February 2019.

“Over 300 Nigerians shops were locked for four months in Kumasi in 2018; over 600 Nigerian shops were locked in 2019 and, currently, over 250 Nigerians shops have been locked.

“Residency Permit requirements, for which the Ghana Immigration Service has placed huge fees, far higher than the fees charged by the Nigerian Immigration Service. These include the compulsory non-citizen ID card ($120, and $60 for yearly renewal); medical examinations, including for COVID-19 which is newly-introduced (about $120), and payment for a residency permit ($400 compared to the N7,000 being paid by Ghanaians for residency card in Nigeria.

“Outrageous stipulations in the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act. When the Act was initially promulgated in 1994, a foreigner is required to invest at least $300,000 by way of equity capital and also employ 10 Ghanaians. This Act has now been amended twice, with the 2018 GIPC Act raising the minimum capital base for foreign-owned businesses to $1 million. Though targeted at foreigners, it seems GIPC’s definition of foreigners is Nigerians. The GIPC Act also negates the ECOWAS Protocol.

“Media war against Nigerians in Ghana. The negative reportage of issues concerning Nigerians resident in Ghana by the Ghanaian media is fuelling an emerging xenophobic attitude towards Nigerian traders and Nigerians in general. The immediate fallout is the incessant harassment and arrest of Nigerian traders and closure of their shops.

“Harsh and openly-biased judicial trial and pronouncement of indiscriminately-long jail terms for convicted Nigerians. There are currently over 200 Nigerians in the Nsawam Maximum prison in Ghana alone,” the Minister said.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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