Nigerians engaged in retail trade in Ghana have asked to not retaliate even if their Ghanaian counterparts unleash violence on them.
The call came from the king of the Nigerian Igbo Community in Ghana, His Majesty Eze Dr Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu.
“I will want to use this opportunity to plead with our brothers in the market, the Nigerians, to take things calmly; not to fight back, not to attack anybody even if they are attacked.
“They should look at it that this is our host nation, we don’t need to fight anybody. We should see it as one of the normal misunderstandings so long as the Ghanaian authorities are not in support of the situation”, Eze Ihenetu noted in a radio interview on Class FM.
The Igbo King continued: ““I am also using the opportunity to talk to the Ghana Traders Association to know that these are your brothers, they are not strangers to you because the same people are supplying you [with] goods. These are brothers and sisters issues, so, I am also talking to them with this opportunity I have here on Accra100.5FM for them to please welcome our people and see us as one.”
The call for calm by the chief is in response to a series of attacks on Nigerians engaged in retail trade in Ghana.
Last week, personnel from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service had arrested some GUTA executives and Electrical Dealers Association (EDA), following their threat to take action against foreigners in the retail business, if the government failed to implement the law barring non-nationals from doing retail business in the country.
Confirming the arrest, GUTA president, Dr Joseph Obeng wondered how the police can arrest citizens who are demanding that the country’s laws must be enforced.
“This is an unfair treatment…it cannot be that we despise our own citizens and then love others when the law is even on our side,” he told Joy News.
It would be recalled that retail traders in Accra and Kumasi recently accused foreignersof engaging in retail trade, contrary to Section 27 of GIPC Act 865.
The action by the Kumasi traders had the backing of GUTA, whocalled on government to enforce the GIPC Act.
Dr.Obeng noted that various sector associations have been giving solidarity messages since they are also feeling the effect of foreigners operating in their trading space.
“Yesterday, the electrical dealers organised a press conference and warned that those who are in our midst and working illegally should not open their shops,” he told Joy Business, adding that the traders emphasized that they will arrest anyone trading illegally and help enforce the laws of Ghana.
Even though the law clearly prohibits non-Ghanaians from engaging in retail trade in the country, governments have over the years found it difficult to implement it.
While some people claim the law is contrary to the ECOWAS provision on the free movement of goods and persons across the sub-region, others simply argue thatSection 27 of the Ghana PIC Act 865 cannot be enforced because it conflicts with certain international treaties Ghana had signed.