$1m levy: Enough is enough, stop harassing Nigerians, FG warns Ghana - Breaking News in Nigeria today 247 | TheWatchNGR

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Saturday, August 29, 2020

$1m levy: Enough is enough, stop harassing Nigerians, FG warns Ghana

$1m levy: Enough is enough, stop harassing Nigerians, FG warns Ghana




The federal government on Friday warned Ghana that it would no longer tolerate the harassment of Nigerians living in that country.

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed said in a statement in Abuja that for some time now, the authorities in Accra have been exhibiting acts of hostility towards Nigeria and Nigerians, adding that the situation could not be allowed to continue.

Mohammed spoke against the background of the recent closure of the shops of Nigerian traders in Ghana by the authorities who asked them to pay $1 million each to have such shops re-opened.

The minister wondered why Ghana chose to treat Nigeria and its citizens that way when the “over one million Ghanaians” resident in Nigeria are not being maltreated.

His words:

“The federal government has been documenting the acts of hostility towards Nigeria and Nigerians by the Ghanaian authorities.

These include seizure of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 10, Barnes Road, Accra, which the Nigerian government has used as diplomatic premises for almost 50 years.

“Demolition of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, East Ridge, Accra, another serious breach of the Vienna Convention.

“Aggressive and incessant deportation of Nigerians from Ghana. Between January 2018 and February 2019, 825 Nigerians were deported from Ghana.

 





 






“Closure of shops belonging to Nigerians. Over 300 Nigerians shops were locked for four months in Kumasi in 2018; over 600 Nigerian shops were locked in 2019 and, currently, over 250 Nigerians’ shops have been locked.

“Residency Permit requirements, for which the Ghana Immigration Service has placed huge fees, far higher than the fees charged by the Nigerian Immigration Service.

These include the compulsory Non-citizen ID card (US$120, and US$60 for yearly renewal); Medical examinations, including for Covid-19 which is newly-introduced (about US$120), and payment for residency permit (US$400 compared to the N7,000 being paid by Ghanaians for residency card in Nigeria).

“Outrageous stipulations in the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act. When the Act was initially promulgated in 1994, a foreigner is required to invest at least US$300,000 by way of equity capital and also employ 10 Ghanaians.

“This Act has now been amended twice with the 2018 GIPC Act raising the minimum capital base for foreign-owned businesses to US$1m. Though targeted at foreigners, it seems GIPC’s definition of foreigners is Nigerians.

The GIPC Act also negates the ECOWAS 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 of 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 Federal Government property at No. 10, Barnes Road in Accra is the non-renewal of 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.”

The Federal Government appealed to Nigerians citizens resident in Ghana to “remain law abiding and avoid engaging in self help, despite their ordeal.”

Two weeks ago, the President, Nigerian Traders Union in Ghana Mr Chukwuemeka Nnaji, cried out over the closure of shops owned by Nigerians doing business in the country by the Ghanaian authorities.

He appealed to the Federal Government for intervention. He said that shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Accra were locked up by Ghanaian authorities who demanded cash payment of $1 million from them before the shops would be opened.

According to him, an inter-ministerial task force went round last Monday to identify shops owned by Nigerian traders, and requested the documents on registration of business, taxes, resident permit, standard control and Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) registration.
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