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Cease Harassing Nigerian Traders and The Larger Nigerian Community

From all indications, the hot rhetoric against the presence of Nigerians in Ghana continues unabated. It is a shame that for the sins of a few misguided criminal elements, the entire Nigerian expatriate community is being relentlessly excoriated, thrashed and maligned.

This is not only wrong it is also pathetic and unfortunate and calls into question our core values as a tolerant and accommodating nation. Our once pristine reputation, sadly, now lies in tatters.

Leading the charge against the Nigerians are Ghanaian traders, mainly those in Suame, Kumasi, who harbor an intense dislike for their Nigerian counterparts for reasons that run the gamut from plain jealousy to allegations of unfair trading practices by the Nigerians.

Strangely, the Northern Progressive Traders Association of the Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) has joined the fray—- the fight against Nigerian traders.

At a press conference in Tamale on Monday, the association went on the rampage, railing against Nigerian traders in the city and vowed to make life miserable for those Nigerian traders who delight in circumventing our laws. Wow; the association was sure on the warpath.

Like their disgruntled colleagues in Suame, the traders in Tamale are up in arms because they erroneously think the Nigerians are cutting corners, taking advantage of our lax legal system and stiffing Ghanaian traders in the process.

Perfectly understood. Traders in Tamale perform a valuable service. They risk their lives to bring to our doorsteps goods that we would otherwise have to travel hundreds of miles to purchase. They are in fact, an integral part of our society.

On account of the remarkable service provided by our traders, I deeply appreciate their concerns and fears. Without mincing words Iet me emphasize that the issues raised by the association are valid.

Traders in Tamale have every right to cry foul if things are going against their interests or if their livelihoods are threatened by foreign competition.

But I beg to differ. Look, I am not holding brief for the Nigerians; I have no stake in the trade war so to speak. I just want fairness and equity. Nigerian traders are not brazenly breaking our laws. Far from it. If they were, there are laws to constrain and punish them.

Of course, our traders should be given the upper hand when it comes to retailing. However, our retail laws are ambiguous and misleading.

On one hand, the laws encourage foreign participation in domestic trade yet look the other way when foreign traders like the Chinese and Nigerians shun wholesale trading because of the low profits and engage in retailing because of the high profits it generates.

For all I know, it is Ghanaian authorities who are not enforcing our trade laws. Nigerian traders are just taking advantage of the relaxed attitude of our authorities. Let’s leave them alone.








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