The Federal Government had expressed anger at the ill-treatment meted out to Nigerians in Ghana and has said it is considering a number of options.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement on Friday said listed the seizure of properties belonging to Nigerians and large number of Nigerians deported from Ghana in the past few months as unacceptable.
Mohammed disclosed that the government had been documenting the acts of hostility towards its people and authorities.
The minister described the seizure of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 10, Barnes Road, Accra, which the Nigerian Government had used as diplomatic premises for almost 50 years, as a serious breach of the Vienna Convention.
He also noted that the demolition of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, East Ridge, Accra, was another serious breach of the Convention.
Mohammed said Nigeria was concerned about the aggressive and incessant deportation of Nigerians from Ghana, noting that between Jan. 2018 and Feb. 2019, no fewer than 825 Nigerians were deported from Ghana.
He disclosed that more than 300 Nigerian shops were locked for four months in Kumasi in 2018, while over 600 Nigerian shops were locked in 2019, and currently, over 250 Nigerian shops had been locked.
According to him, “Residency Permit requirements for which the Ghana Immigration Service has placed huge fees, far higher than the fees charged by the Nigerian Immigration Service.
“These include the compulsory Non-citizen ID card (120 U.S.120 dollars, and 60 U.S. dollars for yearly renewal), Medical examinations, including for Covid-19 which is newly-introduced (about 120 U.S. dollars), and payment for residency permit (400 U.S dollars compared to the N7,000 being paid by Ghanaians for residency card in Nigeria).”
The minister also identified outrageous stipulations in the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act.
“When the Act was initially promulgated in 1994, a foreigner is required to invest at least 300 000 U.S. dollars by way of equity capital and also employ 10 Ghanaians.
“This Act has now been amended twice, with the 2018 GIPC Act raising the minimum capital base for foreign-owned
businesses to one million U.S. dollars.
“Though targeted at foreigners, it seems GIPC’s definition of foreigners is Nigerians. The GIPC Act also negates the ECOWAS Protocol” he added.
He frowned at the media war against Nigerians in Ghana.
The Minister raised the alarm that the negative reportage of issues concerning Nigerians resident in Ghana by the Ghanaian media was fuelling an emerging xenophobic attitude towards Nigerian traders and Nigerians in general.
He explained: “The immediate fallout is the incessant harassment and arrest of Nigerian traders and closure of their shops.
“Harsh and openly-biased judicial trial and pronouncement of discriminately-long jail terms for convicted Nigerians.
“There are currently more than 200 Nigerians in the Nsawam Maximum prison in Ghana alone,” he said.
He said the Federal Government would like to put on record the fact that even though more than one million Ghanaians are resident in Nigeria, they are not being subjected to the kind of hostility being meted out to Nigerians in Ghana.
He added that, though the main reason given for the seizure of Federal Government property at No. 10, Barnes Road in Accra was the non-renewal of lease after expiration, the Ghanaian authorities did not give Nigeria the right of first refusal or the notice to renew the lease.
“By contrast, the lease on some of the properties occupied by the Ghanaian Mission in Nigeria has long expired, yet such properties have not been seized.
“Nigeria has time after time demonstrated its fidelity to the long cordial relations with Ghana.
“But indications, especially in recent times, are that Nigeria’s stance is now being taken for granted and its citizens being made targets of harassment and objects of ridicule.
“This will no longer be tolerated under any guise,” he said.