Nigeria’s Chargé d’Affaires to Ghana, Esther Adebola Arewa, has been summoned by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, in protest of comments attributed to Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, criticising Ghana’s handling of foreign retailers.
Per a series of tweets from the Minister, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister said the government’s crackdown on foreigners in retail trade, some of whom are Nigerian, was to garner votes.
She said such comments were “most unfortunate” for relations between Ghana and Nigeria.
Relations between Ghana and Nigeria have been strained because disputes over the status of foreign traders, which led to the temporary closure of some Nigerian-owned shops in the enforcement of Section 27 (1) of the GIPC Act.
Most recently, over a hundred Nigerian traders in Ghana massed up at the Nigerian High Commission in Accra on August 19, 2020, to protest the closure of their shops.
Shops of foreigners operating in the retail sector were being closed down by the Presidential Committee on Retail Trade under the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Nigeria’s decision to close its border with Benin, which affected traders across the region, including Ghanaians, also caused some contentions in the past.
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey made reference to this in her tweets noting that Nigeria’s actions “ended up hurting Ghanaian exporters and brought many of them to their knees financially as trucks were stuck at the Seme Krake border for months.”
There was also the incident in June 2020 where armed men stormed the Nigerian High Commission compound and destroyed buildings under construction.
Ghana’s government was compelled to apologise to Nigeria after the incident that threatened to spark a diplomatic row.