from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – HUNDREDS of Nigerian traders have appealed for immediate evacuation from Ghana due to alleged threats to their life.
Some 753 of these individuals, who are members of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) and National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), have signed a letter pleading for support to return home.
The document has been presented to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
The aggrieved Nigerians have claimed that the evacuation had become necessary because of the constant and consistent harassment, intimidation, torture and threat to life as well as a total lockdown of their means of livelihood.
This, they alleged, is because their shops have been locked for almost a year by the Ghanaian authorities.
“Now, landlords are coming to ask us for rent. How do we pay with our shops locked up for so long? We are dying here,” a spokesperson of the Nigerian traders lamented.
The traders’ unions argued that evacuation was the best option as diplomatic ties between Nigeria and Ghana had not yielded positive results.
The two West African nations have a history of frosty relations.
In the late 1970s, Ghana, under Prime Minister Kofi Busia expelled hordes of Nigerians that had sought economic fortunes when Ghana became the first independent country in the region in 1957.
Nigeria’s government of President Sheu Shagari, enjoying an oil boom, retaliated in 1983 when it deported up to 1 million Ghanaians and other African immigrants.
This at a time when Ghana was facing severe drought and economic problems.
Dabiri-Erewa appealed for calm from the traders, assuring them their pleas would be relayed to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Nigeria will not hesitate to gladly and safely welcome her citizens back to the country,” Gabriel Odu, her spokesperson, said.
– CAJ News