FG WILL ENSURE NIGERIAN TRADERS IN GHANA GET JUSTICE – OSINBAJO ASSURES
Despite the seeming delay in resolving the concerns of Nigerian traders regarding some stiff business regulation imposed by Ghanaian authorities, the Federal Government will ensure that affected Nigerians get justice, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said the vice president gave the assurance during a meeting with representatives of the Nigerian community in Ghana on Tuesday.
The meeting, which was 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.
Responding to the issues raised by leaders of the Nigerian community at the meeting, especially the maltreatment of Nigerians by Ghanaian authorities, Osinbajo reaffirmed Federal Government’s commitment to deal with the issues.
Osinbajo said that the delay in resolving these issues might be due to bureaucratic bottlenecks which were generally a drag on government activities.
According to him, “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.
“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 recognise 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 said that efforts were made in the past and even recently to resolve the crisis.
Osinbajo said that he had followed the developments closely and was familiar with many the reported incidents.
He said that the president had also asked that a review of all that had taken place be done.
“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.
Continuing, 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.
“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.”
“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,” he said.
The vice president urged all affected traders through their associations and leaders to submit a more detailed letter containing the number of affected shops and other relevant information that would enable the Nigerian government to follow-up effectively..
Osinbajo urged Nigerians living in Ghana to remain law abiding and to embrace peaceful coexistence, adding that both governments would resolve the differences.
Earlier, the First Vice President of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG), Chief Kizito Obiorah and a publisher of an Online medium, Mr Destiny Austin Omon, presented copies of their petitions to Osinbajo.
Obiorah said that the situation was becoming unbearable as many Nigerian traders whose shops had been locked since Nov.2019 had now resorted to begging to take care of their families.
He appealed to the Nigerian government to prevail on its Ghanaian counterpart to reopen their shops to enable them sell off their goods and return home to Nigeria.
On his part, Omon, said Nigerians were fast losing their self-esteem and dignity as a result of their maltreatment in the hands of Ghanaian authorities.
More so, the representative of Nigerian students, Mr Adebayo Ogunkoya, called for improved support for Nigerian students studying abroad and especially in Ghana, noting the peculiar situation in the West African country.
Other officials at the meeting included the Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, the President of NUTAG, Chief Chukwuemeka Nnaji, among others.