The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has revealed that the federal government would ensure that the Nigerian traders in Ghana get justice for the stiff business regulations imposed on them by Ghanaian authorities.
Prof Osinbajo said this on Tuesday evening, September 15, during a meeting with representatives of the Nigerian community in Ghana. The meeting, held at the official residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, was focused on the challenges facing Nigerians living in the West African nation including the locking of hundreds of Nigerian owned shops.
The leaders of the Nigerian community at the meeting raised several issues among which was the maltreatment of Nigerians by Ghanaian authorities. In response, Prof Osinbajo strongly affirmed the commitment of the Federal Government to dealing with the issues, assuring them of justice.
He said, “I will certainly convey the depth of your grievances to the President. I am sure that he will be deeply disturbed to hear that despite the assurances that he had received, (from the Ghanaian government) there are still problems and complications, many of which have been discussed at the highest levels with assurances of resolutions given.”
The Vice President explained further, “I look forward to getting the details and making sure that we are able to begin to resolve some of these issues as quickly as possible. But I think you must also recognize that generally speaking, governments tend to be very slow, processes are slow, bureaucracies are slow, but we will make sure that we do the very best we can to get you your rights so that at least you are dealt with justly,” he assured the leaders and traders in the Nigerian community in Ghana who interacted with him for over an hour.”
Referring to efforts made in the past and even recently to resolve the crisis, the Vice President said, “I have followed closely developments here, and many of the incidents that you have described, I am already very familiar with. As a matter of fact, the President had asked that a review of all that had taken place to be done.”
He continued, “There have been direct communications between our President and President Akufo-Addo. Our President has spoken to him about this, he has made a formal complaint to him, and that conversation has been going on. What the Ghanaian government pledged to do, on three occasions, was that the shops will be reopened. In fact, I am a bit surprised that it has not taken place because my understanding was that, that was going to be done. So, I think what we need to do aggressively is to follow-up with the Ghanaian government and to see that these things are done.”
Prof. Osinbajo said, “I am sure you are familiar with the fact that there was a meeting between the Minister of Trade and Industry of Ghana and a team led by our own Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investments in Abuja. That took place on the 3rd of September, while the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila was meeting with his counterpart here.”
He added, “Now, it is very evident from what you have said here that there is so much that had gone wrong over a long period of time and we really need to address these concerns in as detailed a manner as possible. And what I can say to you is that this is a matter that concerns the government very greatly…your welfare concerns us greatly.”
Prof Osinbajo asked the traders to provide a detailed list of all the shops that have been locked so as to speed up the process of getting justice for them.
He said, “Perhaps it might be important if we have specific details of the shops that need to be reopened so that we can check and say how many (I think that at some point we had a list of about 160 or so, shops). So, I think we should have a list with specifics so that even if we are told that something has been done, we can cross-check and see to it that it has actually taken place.”
The Vice President concluded, “I think that is up to us now, to our two governments, and to those of you who live here and Ghanaians who live in Nigeria, to ensure that we are able to bring about peace and to live with each other. Governments have serious roles to protect the lives of citizens especially foreign citizens.”