For the second time in less than 1 month Nigerian traders in the Kwame Nkrumah Circle axis have had their Joy’s cut short ,as their shops locked for over 8 months were re-opened on Wednesday after verification of their business registration documents and resident status by members of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) who were accompanied by media men and televised to the world.
It all started on Monday when the GUTA announced that all Nigerian traders who are trading at Tip-Toe Lane Circle should come and regularize their documents so that they can start business, on Tuesday majority of the traders came out, the GUTA came with media houses in Ghana to cover the exercise, and reportedly give the impression to the international committee that they have mended fence with the Nigerian traders and their shops has been re-opened.
Fast-forward to Friday morning the Nigerian traders were bewildered with the sudden turn of events as they opened for business as usual , only for them to have their shops locked again by members of Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) who stormed the market with ferocious looking thugs who were accompanied by police men to ensure that the Nigerian traders comply to the new order.
Videos that has emerged from the perceived exercise confirmed that the chairman of the Eagle Digital Union an aegis of the Nigerian Union of Traders Ghana (NUTAG) was arrested and reportedly taken to Accra Regional Police station.
Uncertainties over this issue has persisted, the Nigerian traders whose shop and means of livelihood has been denied for over 8 months now are agitated over this issue that has persisted for almost a decade, as their shops has been consistently locked and reluctantly reopened.
This matter started as far back as 2007 and has lingered till today with increased tension when Ghana came up with a law that no foreigner would be allowed to do business in Ghana unless he has one million USD capital in cash or equity.
Following the arrest of their chairman, the Nigerian traders are planning to go to the street again in protest over the alleged harassment and inhuman treatment their ECOWAS neighbours are dealing them for years now. Nigerian traders in Ghana perceive this law as a frontal attack and violation of the ECOWAS protocols which Ghana is a signatory to. ECOWAS laws see citizens of member states as community citizens and not foreigners they reiterate.
From all indications it seems that the members of the Ghanaian Union of Traders Association are hell bent on enforcing their local trade laws this time, which further stipulates that foreigners are not to undertake in the act of retail trade in their local markets but one thing is very clear, they are unlikely to achieve this feat without causing heavy friction in the bilateral relationship of the two nations, which won’t be good for the economic powerhouse of the West African region ,and an adverse effect on implementation of the ECOWAS protocol on freedom of movement for people and goods in the member states.