The Nigerian Union of Traders in Ghana, NUTAG, says its members feel threatened by the recent actions of the Ghana Union of Traders Association, GUTA.
A scuffle nearly ensued at the Tiptoe Lane in Accra last week, when some members of GUTA demonstrated against the continuous presence of foreigners in Ghana’s retail space particularly without appropriate documentation.
According to the Nigerians, that incident, coupled with a fresh threat by GUTA members to lock up their shops again this week, have left them in fear.
GUTA has repeatedly asked government to strictly enforce the GIPC Law that prevents foreigners from engaging in petty trading.
National President of the National Union of Nigerian Traders in Ghana, Chikuemeka Nnaji, told Citi Business News the traders need to be protected to prevent any loss of lives.
“We are calling on government to protect the lives of Nigerians in Abossey Okai because we don’t want any lives to be lost. I think it’s high time we sat up, because we have tried to keep the unity and that has given them the upper hand. If there is any problem, they should bring the authorities and let them come and check. Sometime last year, there was some group of security personnel that came to check our documents and I don’t know what kind of data they were able to collect but they are the right people to come and check if they want any data from us,” he said.
Chikuemeka wants the governments of Ghana and Nigeria to engage vigorously to address the matter once and for all.
“The solution now is that the government of Ghana and Nigeria should meet and decide what they are going to do. I don’t have any problem with whatever decision they will take. If they come out to say everyone should go home or stay, we will. I think we deserve to be protected, our lives matter so much,” he added.
In December last year, nearly 600 foreign-owned shops were locked up by GUTA members in Accra.
The shops remained closed for nearly six months until last month June, when some of them were reopened by the Presidential Committee on Retail Trade after inspection of documents supervised by the Ghana Immigration Service and the Ghana Revenue Authority.
But GUTA claima the documents checked did not meet the requirements and that the shop owners were ordered to close down after the inspection, but they have deliberately remained opened for business, hence their call for them to be closed again.