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Ghana continues to pay us back for sins of Shagari’s Ghana-must-go: - HURIWA

By HURIWA
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A pro-democracy and non-governmental body – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked the Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo to stop maltreating Nigerian traders probably as an unending revenge of the expulsion during the second Republic in Nigeria of Ghanaians out of Nigeria.

HURIWA reminded the Ghanaian government that Nigerians were also driven out of Ghana in the early 70's even as the group calls for a bilateral meeting between Nigeria and Ghana to iron out areas of differences and work out harmonious commercial partnerships.

HURIWA said it was ethically incorrect and a fundamental breach of the unambiguous provision of the fundamental principles and protocols of the treaty of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for Nigerian traders to be endangered in Ghana.

In this vein, the pro-democracy group has asked the Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, whose military regime came in through coup plot just after the then Shehu Shagari's government undertook the mass expulsion of Ghanaians from Nigeria in the mid 1980’s to apologize to Ghana and work harmoniously to marshal out cordial commercial relationship between Nigerians and the citizens of Ghana. HURIWA also asked Ghanaian government to tender apology to Nigeria over the maltreatment and expulsion of Nigerians in the early 70's so both nations can work under a new slate of neighbourliness and stop creating undue bottlenecks to trade as a result of the hangover of the angst generated by indiscretion of past governments of both nations targeting each others citizens who never had inputs to such disgraceful expulsions.

“We appeal to president Buhari to apologize to the people of Ghana and probably work out a compensation package for those who can show evidences of loses from the actions of the security operatives who expelled Ghanaians from Nigeria and then cement a cordial trading partnerships between Ghana and Nigeria in such a way that it would bring mutual benefits and end the constant recrimination and undue harassment of ordinary Nigerians living and doing legitimate commercial activities in Ghana. Similarly, HURIWA has asked Ghana to pay compensation and apologise for the mass expulsions of Nigerians from Gjana in the 70's and put an immediate stop to the harassment of Nigerian traders in Ghana.

Besides, the group reminded the president of Ghana that there are several citizens of Ghana who are engaged in such small and medium scale enterprises such as fashion designing/tailoring; shoe mending and running of supermarkets in Nigeria and wondered why Ghana should erect legal obstacles to frustrate investments by Nigerians in Ghana in similar small and medium scale enterprises.

HURIWA reminded Ghana’s president that chapter VIII co-operation in trade, customs, taxations, statistics, money and payments which is a component of ECOWAS treaty had legislated liberalization of trade among West Africans.

HURIWA said that:This aspect of ECOWAS treaty states that there shall be progressively established in the course of a period of ten (10) years effective from 1 January, 1990 as stipulated in Article 54, a Customs Union among the member states. Within this union, customs duties or other charges with equivalent effect on community originating imports shall be eliminated.”

HURIWA reminded the Ghanaian leader that the EVOWAS treaty stated that: “Quota, quantitative or like restrictions or prohibitions and administrative obstacles to trade among the Member States shall also be removed. Furthermore, a common countries shall be established and maintained.”

HURIWA also stated that Article 4 on the Fundamental Principles enshrined in the ECOWAS protocols/Treaty charges the high contracting parties, in pursuit of the objectives stated in Article 3 of this Treaty, to solemnly affirm and declare their adherence to the following principles: “equality and inter-dependence of Member States; solidarity and collective self-reliance; inter-State co-operation, harmonization of policies and integration of programmes; non-aggression between Member States; maintenance of regional peace, stability and security through the promotion and strengthening of good neighbourliness; peaceful settlement of disputes among Member States, active Co-operation between neighbouring countries and promotion of a peaceful environment as a prerequisite for economic development; recognition promotion and protection of human and peoples' rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights; accountability, economic and social justice and popular participation in development; recognition and observance of the rules and principles of the Community; promotion and consolidation of a democratic system of governance in each Member State as envisaged by the Declaration of Political Principles adopted in Abuja on 6 July, 1991; and equitable and just distribution of the costs and benefits of economic co-operation and integration.”

HURIWA recalled that More than 400 businesses owned by Nigerians have been closed by authorities in Ghana, sparking a protest by owners who have issued a week ultimatum within which to resolve the maltreatment of Nigerian business community in Ghana.

The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) have written a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the issue.

HURIWA recalled that the traders association gave a one-week ultimatum to the commission to intervene in the matter, warning that the association would occupy the ECOWAS premises if the situation in Ghana was not addressed.

HURIWA quoted the media as reporting that in their protest march to the ECOWAS Secretariat on Monday in Abuja, the traders urged the Commission to intervene to stop the alleged victimization of Nigerian business men and women in Ghana.

HURIWA said some local media reports on Tuesday, quoted the President of NANT, Mr. Ken Ukaoha, as stating that the development has reached a point where the Ghanaian Parliament has passed a legislation to make the business environment hostile to foreign investors.

He said that the ECOWAS President, Jean-Claude Brou, had been petitioned over the development.

“This is a save our soul call and the urgency of this protest is to inform you of the state of fear, uncertainty and insecurity that Nigerian traders are currently subjected to in the hands of the government and people of Ghana in different cities under the coordination of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and Ministry of Trade and Industry,” Ukaoha said.

According to him, the members of the association have been shut out of their business premises in pursuance of the eviction order dated July 27, 2018, demanding that “we must have $1m as minimum foreign investment capital to do business in Ghana”.

HURIWA has therefore charged the President of Nigeria to personally intervened since he is even the current President of ECOWAS council of Heads of States and governments..