The Nigerian Government has said that it will not tolerate the incessant harassment of its citizens in Ghana by Ghanaians and Ghanaian authorities.
The government says it has been documenting acts of hostility towards Nigeria and Nigerians by the Ghanaian authorities.
The Nigerian government noted that 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.
It indicated that it will not tolerate such treatment of its citizens in Ghana saying “This will no longer be tolerated under any guise”.
It called on its citizens in Ghana to ” to remain law-abiding and avoid engaging in self-help, despite their ordeal”.
Nigeria Will No Longer Tolerate Harassment of Its Citizens in Ghana – FG
The Nigerian Government is deeply concerned by the incessant harassment of its citizens in Ghana and the progressive acts of hostility towards the country by Ghanaian authorities, and will no longer tolerate such. In this regard, the Federal Government is urgently considering a number of options aimed at ameliorating the situation. The Federal Government has been documenting the acts of hostility towards Nigeria and Nigerians by the Ghanaian authorities.
Theseinclude:- Seizure of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 10, BarnesRoad, Accra, which the Nigerian Government has used as diplomaticpremises for almost 50 years. This action is a serious breach of theVienna Convention.- Demolition of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 19/21Julius Nyerere Street, East Ridge, Accra, another serious breach ofthe Vienna Convention.- Aggressive and incessant deportation of Nigerians from Ghana.
Between Jan. 2018 and Feb. 2019, 825 Nigerians were deported fromGhana.- Closure of shops belonging to Nigerians. Over 300 Nigerians shopswere locked for four months in Kumasi in 2018; over 600 Nigerian shopswere locked in 2019 and, currently, over 250 Nigerians shops have beenlocked.- Residency Permit requirements, for which the Ghana ImmigrationService has placed huge fees, far higher than the fees charged bythe Nigerian Immigration Service.
These include the compulsoryNon-citizen ID card (US$120, and US$60 for yearly renewal); Medicalexaminations, including for Covid-19 which is newly-introduced (aboutUS$120), and payment for residency permit (US$400 compared to theN7,000 being paid by Ghanaians for residency card in Nigeria)- Outrageous stipulations in the Ghana Investment Promotion CentreAct. When the Act was initially promulgated in 1994, a foreigner isrequired to invest at least US$300,000 by way of equity capital andalso employ 10 Ghanaians.
This Act has now been amended twice, with the2018 GIPC Act raising the minimum capital base for foreign-owned businesses to US$1m. Though targeted at foreigners, it seems GIPC’sdefinition of foreigners is Nigerians. The GIPC Act also negates theECOWAS 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 indiscriminately-long jail terms for convicted Nigerians.
There are currently over 200 Nigerians in the Nsawam Maximum prison in Ghana alone. The Federal Government will like to put on record the fact that even though over 1 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 FederalGovernment 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.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
Honourable Minister of Information and Culture
Abuja 28 Aug. 2020