Government will resolve Ghana-Nigeria trade impasse – Foreign Affairs Minister

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Shirley Ayorkor Botchway has called on Ghanaians to remain calm as the government works to resolve the impasse between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders.

Over the past few months, tension has been growing between the two groups with the Ghanaian traders calling on the government to enforce the trade laws that prohibit foreigners from engaging in the retail business.

Addressing journalists in Accra on Tuesday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Shirley Ayorkor Botchway said such calls might not be in Ghana’s best interest as the Nigerians might retaliate and send back Ghanaians living there as happened in the past.

“The Ministry of Trade and the GIPC are dealing with this matter, but from my perspective I just want us to be circumspect in how we fan the flame with regards to other nationals who are coming into our country, because if Nigeria decides to send Ghanaians back, it will be another exodus of ‘Ghana Must Go’ in retaliation of us sending Nigerian back to their country, ” she said.

In July, the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana expressed displeasure with the way crimes involving Nigerians were being covered in the media, saying the coverage was xenophobic

The High Commission in a statement said these “xenophobic tendencies” had the potential to mar Ghana-Nigeria relations.

“The Ghanaian press, both print and electronics as well as social media seems to have enjoyed a field day in demonising Nigeria which for all intent and purposes, is seen as a fraternal brother to Ghana.”

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The High Commission held that the unfair reportage “has caused untold pains, agony as well as apprehension” to Nigerians in Ghana.

But President Nana Akufo-Addo said Ghana’s doors remain open to all Africans after recent concerns of xenophobia manifesting in resentment towards Nigerians.

“There is no xenophobia in Ghana, we are not a xenophobic State. We are the pan-African nation that has opened its doors to all Africans, and they are not going to be the object of any hate campaign in Ghana,” he said at the Jubilee House ahead of the departure of the outgoing Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Ghana.

President Nana Akufo-Addo, however, reminded that fellow Africans needed to respect Ghana’s laws.