Closure of Nigerian Owned Shops in Ghana: Did Ghanaian Authorities Cross the Threshold of The Spirit of The Protocol of ECOWAS?

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Nigerian President in handshakes

By Edmund Z. Bargblor

In the diaspora, news have circulated on October 17, 2018, that shops owned by Nigerians in Ghana have been closed. Also, a ridiculous demand has been formulated by the Ghanaian Government: “demanding that traders must have one million dollars as minimum foreign investment capital to do business in Ghana as stipulated by its Ministry of Trade and Industry (GIPC) Act, 2013” (https://goldstreetbusiness.com).

It is even disturbing when the Goldstreewtbusiness.co., disclosed that “the Ministry of Trade and Industry, through the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) in a joint operation established a taskforce with specific mandate to clamp down on Nigerian traders.” (https://goldstreetbusiness.com/news/ghanas-closure-of-over-400-nigerian-shops-worrisome-nigeria-govt/ 17 October 2018).

West Africans need to respect the Protocol of ECOWAS

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a West African regional organization of 15 West African countries established on 28 May 1975. The focus of this organization is the promotion of the economic integration among its members. Accordingly, ECOWAS has three official languages: English, French, and Portuguese.
PROTOCOL A/P.1/5/79 RELATING TO FREE MOVEMENT OF PERSONS, RESIDENCE AND ESTABLISHMENT as envisioned and put in place by the High Contracting Parties.

“RECALLING that sub-paragraph (d) of paragraph 2 of Article 2 of the Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States calls on Member States to ensure by stages the abolition of the obstacles to free movement of persons, services and capital;RECALLING also that paragraph 1 of Article 27 of the Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States confers the status of Community citizenship on the citizens of Member States, and enjoins Member States to abolish all obstacles to freedom of movement and residence within the Community; RECALLING further that paragraph 2 of Article 27 of the Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States further calls on Member States to exempt Community citizens from holding visitor’s visa and residence permits and allow them to work and undertake commercial and industrial activities within their territories; CONVINCED of the need to spell out in this Protocol the various stages to be undergone to accomplish complete freedom of movement as envisaged by sub-paragraph (d) of paragraph 2 of Article 2 and Article 27 of the Treaty of the Economic Community of West African States

Nigerians and Ghanaians do have common Heritage

According to some Western historians and such medium as britannica.com, Kwa languages are classified as a branch of the family consisting of 45 languages spoken by approximately 20 million people in the southern areas of Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Ghana, Togo, and Benin in the extreme southwestern corner of Nigeria.

Yes indeed, the KWA groupings in Liberia, are genetically and linguistically linked to the Igbo, Ashanti, Akan, Yoruba, etc., Dr. Barry Fell & Edo Nyland were correct in their research when they reflected in the following: “Igbo is in the family of Niger-Congo languages called Kwa by European linguists, which includes many Nigerian and West African languages like Ashanti, Akan, Yoruba and Benin (Edo).

It is not accidental that the first President of Ghana and Nigeria, both attended the same university in the United States of America.

Both unique African personalities attended the same historical black university. Many Africans who returned home after completing their studies in the United States have taken up leadership positions. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, was a graduate of Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, was elected first President of Nigeria. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, also at Lincoln University, he too return home and became that country’s first President after British Colonial rule in 1957.

In retrospect, one can also recall that during the Shagari Administration, late in January 1983, about 3 million people, mostly from other West countries were deported out of the country within two weeks. According to a Nigerian writer, Olajide Aluko, “from the time the Buhari government came to power in a coup d’état on December 1983, and 30 April 1983, 12,000 illegal aliens have been deported from Nigeria”
(https://www.jstor.org/stable/722327?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents). Interestingly, most Ghanaians were also deported at the time from Nigeria during this period.

Conclusion

It is unfortunate as the result of the closure of Nigerian owned shops, Madame Stella Ogonna Okpaleke, (a Nigerian national) ‘whose shops were locked for her failure to meet strict trading conditions put by the Ghana Government, reportedly committed suicide on September 22, 2018’.

It is a shame that unfortunate episodes have and continue to take place in West Africa. If the Protocols are true and signed, respected and honored by all the countries within the sub region, how can any West African call fellow Africans ‘illegal aliens’, be it in Nigeria, Ghana Liberia or any other West African nationals? The Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), which is a multilateral armed force established by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is a good thing and provides a hope for the preservation of peace and stability within the West African Sub region. This noble organization needs to be respected, honored and cherished always….

Let us continue to perpetuate the lovely ideology of Pan-Africanism. That belief that African peoples, both on the African continent and in the Diaspora, do share not merely a common history, but a common destiny.

Irrespective of our colonial legacies, our sense of interconnectedness, pasts and futures has taken many forms, especially in the creation of political institutions and the common understanding that we all belong to mother Africa. Indeed, the spirit and protocols of the formation of ECOWAS are a reflection of the Pan-Africanist spirit, something that the father of Ghanaian Democracy fought for, His Excellency, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

In this token, all Liberians should be proud as well, that the vision for the formation of ECOWAS, came from former Liberian President William V.S. Tubman. All Africans, especially West Africans, will continue to cherish his inspiration, for his initial proposal in 1965 to form a West African Economic Community with Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Sierra Leone. May the Legacy of these African personalities, continue to unify all people of Africa lives on, forever and ever, in our hearts and in our actions.

Mr. Edmund Z. Bargblor

The Author: Mr. Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor is an Educator. He is a graduate of Cuttington University, Liberia; Howard University, Washington, D.C, and Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

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Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor, I fully agree with the Ghanaians. If we were doing the same thing as the Ghanaians are doing, we would not have the Lebanese, Chinese, Indians, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Guineans, Sierra Leoneans opening retails shops in Liberia and taking away Liberia jobs. We would not have foreign nationals selling bottled waters on the streets of Monrovia.

    Remember what George Weah said during his inauguration, that Liberians would not be spectators in their own economy? I hope his inaugural speech was turned into a policy and an act of legislations that is enforced. How can a Lebanese, Indian, Guinean, Ghanaian, Nigerians, Sierra Leoneans, Chinese come to Liberia, open up a store and bring his or her brother, sister, cousin, nephew to work in the store as a store boy? Don’t we have Liberians capable of doing that? You would never find this in any of the above countries mentioned, hence the reason others take advantage of our country and economy.

  2. Mr. Edmund Zargblor is simply being sentimental to the point of being absolutely naive. He recites ancient history to blurr the hard realities as they exist in the International System, particularly as they exist in the African Community.
    Beyond deportation, a more nationalistic Government of Ghana should demand serious adjustments in the ECOWAS PROTOCOL or the dissolution of ECOWAS if those adjustments were not immediately made.
    Then the question as who is benefiting from ECOWAS becomes inevitable. Of course it is the Nigerians who wrote and imposed the ECOWAS and those obnoxious Protocols on the weaker West African countries such as Liberia.
    Is three any doubt that the persistent poverty afflicting the Liberian people is due to the unbridled invasion of Liberia by predatory Nigerians, Ghanaians, Guineans, etc. who are driving financially hard-pressed Liberians even out of businesses traditionally reserved for them?

    Now a day in the Liberian markets, Fula people and Nigerian people occupy the best spots pushing Liberians to the periphery.

    Therefore, I wholeheartedly commend the President of Ghana for being a true Ghanaian nationalist. I hope one day a hardline nationalist will come to power in Liberia to give real value to being a Liberian in Liberia.

    Down With ECOWAS AND ITS PRO-NIGERIAN PROTOCOL!

  3. Great articles Mr. Luke and Mr. Saingbe.
    It is sad to note that most businesses in Liberia are owned and run by foreign nationals.
    We as Liberians need to get involved. We need to learn how to do business in order that we are successful. If we all work for the government and become lawyers, who will do our business?

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