Ghana: PAN seeks ECOWAS support over levy on Nigerian traders

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Shops of Nigerian traders in Ghana

THE Federal Government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have been urged to wade into the imposition of $1million trade-levy on Nigerian traders in Ghana.

A statement by media director of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (PAN), Emmanuel Ohiomokhare, on Sunday in Abuja, described the levy as not only sheer harassment, but a contravention of ECOWAS protocol.

PAN is a non-governmental organisation of Nigerian traders in Ghana seeking also to protect the welfare of Nigerians in the country and elsewhere.

Ohiomokhare faulted the statement credited to the Ghana Minister of Foreign Affairs saying that Ghana implemented the law because Nigeria violated ECOWAS protocol by closing her border.

According to him, “the question is that since 2007 till date when Ghana started closing shops of Nigerian traders, were such actions occasioned by closure of borders?

“Did Nigeria violate ECOWAS protocol by taking steps to contain the cross-border insurgency, check smuggle and address deliberate abuse of the provisions of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) among others?

“Mindful of engagements with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PAN calls for urgent actions by the Federal Government to find a solution to this recurring issue.”

He appealed to the government to consider evacuating Nigerians in Ghana as they continue to face harassments and xenophobic attacks, to avoid loss of lives.

Noting that Nigerians no longer feel safe and most of those affected by are stranded financially, PAN stated that “ECOWAS must be awake to its responsibilities.

The media director stated that PAN does not have problems with the sovereign law of Ghana regarding foreigners, but that classifying Nigerians as foreigners in an ECOWAS member state was a clear violation of ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol.

He said that “in keeping with the provisions of the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol, Nigeria’s government allowed Ghanaian citizens unfettered access into the local markets without any form of harassments, intimidation, limitations or discrimination.

“They enjoy government protection and live among Nigerians across the country, but in Ghana, the reverse is the case,” he added.

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