Ghanaian businessmen have clashed with their Nigerian counterparts engaged in trading activities within the Suame Magazine business enclave in Kumasi THE NEW PUBLISHER has gathered.
Suame Magazine industrial business center that habours an estimated 200,000 workers engaged in the sale of vehicle spare parts, metal engineering and workshops for the repair of cars.
Tension between the two trading groups reached boiling point and broke into violent clashes on Friday after the Ghanaian traders had repeatedly complained that the Nigerians were engaged in retail trade in contravention of existing laws.
The vexed Ghanaians cited the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865 section 27, which, according to them, forbids non-Ghanaian traders from engaging in retail trade anywhere in Ghana.
The Nigerian traders, however insisted they had done nothing wrong because, they had fulfilled all the legal requirements before operating their businesses.
According to the Nigerian traders they had met the minimum capital required for foreigners to engage in retail trade in Ghana, even though they were of the opinion that requirement had been abolished by ECOWAS.
The Nigerians explained further that every single one of them had paid Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Value Added Taxes and also paid the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions for their workers, including several Ghanaian workers and therefore the Ghanaian traders should stop harassing foreign nationals and rather find creative ways of marketing their goods so as to attract customers.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association, Chief Kizito Obiora, told the media he suspects the involvement of Nigerian nationals in the recent alleged kidnappings in Ghana is what has provoked the attacks on the Nigerian traders.
Chief Kizito Obiora said the attackers have ordered them to close their shops and leave the country to their home Nigeria.
Albert Mensah Offei, Ashanti Regional Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), confirmed the report when he spoke with Nhyira FM in Kumasi: “there were violence at Suame Magazine on Friday. The locals think the Nigerians are taking the retail business and it led to the violence”.
Mr. Offei charged government to sit up to help prevent further violence in the near future.
This is not the first time Nigerian traders in Kumasi have come under attack over allegations they were unlawfully engaged in retain trade. During one of such attacks, some unidentified traders closed down more than 30 shops belonging to Nigerian businessmen and the Police had to step in to restore normalcy.
The Ashanti Regional Police Command has commenced investigations into the matter.
In a related development regarding the seeming attacks on Nigerians living in Ghana, founder and Executive Director of Danquah Institute, Gabby Otchere-Darko, has cautioned against the stereotyping of Nigerians and other nationals.
Mr. Otchere-Darko seemed perturbed about a rise in media reports that Nigerians are being arrested over their involvement in suspected crimes.
On Monday, Gabby Otchere-Darko took to his official facebook page to put out his grievance.
He wrote: “Imagine living in Europe, and waking up almost daily to headlines such as “Another Ghanaian Arrested”. That is how being a Nigerian in Ghana feels. Some of us have been saying this for years but with no impact. Stop the anti-Nigerian stereotyping! We keep reinforcing an unfortunate image that Nigerians are criminals. Even where a gang of 4 Ghanaians and 1 Nigerian robs a bank, we are told the Nigerian either “subcontracted” or “recruited” the Ghanaians. Indeed, almost half of West Africans are Nigerians, so Nigerians are bound to have the highest number of both good and bad people in our region, on our continent. #StopCriminalisingNaija”