Ghana has explained that Nigerian traders were exempt from the recent quit notice to foreigners to vacate the country’s retail markets.
The Ghanaian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor-Botchwey, made the explanation on Monday in Abuja when she paid a courtesy visit on her Nigerian counterpart, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama.
This comes as foreign nationals engaged in retail business in Ghana were on July 11 issued a quit notice to vacate the country’s markets as the country’s law reserves operation of retail business only for citizens.
Amid fears of xenophobic attacks, Botchwey maintained that Nigerians and other ECOWAS citizens were not affected by the quit notice.
“This has nothing to do with our ECOWAS brothers and sisters. It was more to do with other nationals.
“Yes there is a problem that Nigerians and other ECOWAS citizens have been cut up in this issue of traders being given quit notice to exit our markets with their retail trade which is, by the law of Ghana, reserved for Ghanaians.”
She said that she was in Nigeria “to give assurance that between Ghana and Nigeria, this will never be an issue and we will not allow it to be an issue.”
Onyeama in his remarks said the Ghanaian minister’s visit demonstrated the country’s concern that Nigeria should, in no way, interpret the issue as xenophobia against Nigerian traders.
He said the Minister explained that what prompted the outcry was not about nationals of ECOWAS, but nationals from outside Africa who had been installing themselves in the Ghanaian retail business.
Onyema said the Ghanaian Government was engaged in really coming out with a law that was consistent with their position as an ECOWAS member state.
“For her to travel, to fly here to meet with me for one hour, I think, demonstrated the concern of the Ghanaian Government that Nigeria should in no way interpret this as some kind of xenophobia against Nigerians.”
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