The king of Igbos in Ghana, His Royal Majesty Eze Dr. Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu, has called for the strengthening of the bilateral relationship between Ghana and Nigeria to improve trade within the West African sub region.
He said Nigerian businesses do not pose a threat to Ghana’s economy but rather aid growth through payment of taxes as well as employment creation.
Speaking on GhOne TV’s State of Affairs, HRM Ihenetu said, most Nigerian youth are driven by a strong desire to succeed in spite of the many economic challenges that confront them as citizens of Africa’s most populous nation.
He however warned that genuine and hard-working Nigerian businessmen and women should not suffer from prejudice as a result of the misconduct of a few people.
He called on the Government of the Republic of Ghana to “temper justice with mercy” by relaxing laws which prohibit non-Ghanaians from engaging in retail trade, stating that there are millions of Ghanaians engaged in similar activities in Nigeria without fearing that Nigerian authorities will shut their businesses down.
As the grand patron of all Nigerian students in Ghana, Dr. Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu, appealed to Ghanaian educational institutions to acknowledge the contribution of Nigerians to development as Nigerian nationals form about 70% of all foreign students in Ghana.
“These foreign students pay higher fees, rent hostels and through their spendings contribute to the development of the host communities, thus it is important for the authorities of the various educational institutions to show more commitment towards their welfare.”
HRM said he is optimistic that the police administration and the judiciary of Ghana will bring out all the facts in relation to the three missing girls allegedly kidnapped by a Nigerian citizen resident in Kansaworodo near Takoradi in the Western Region of Ghana.
He said, the alleged kidnapper, ‘Samuel Wills’ who is currently being prosecuted at the Takoradi District Court will not be defended by the Igbo community if he is found guilty of the charges against him.
He called on Nigerian citizens in Ghana to acquaint themselves with the rules and regulations of Ghana in order to avoid falling afoul with the law.
“I have travelled to all the regions of Ghana to educate my subjects about how to conduct themselves responsibly because I will never defend crime,” he concluded.
Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah’s Pan Africanist movement in the 1950s/60s attracted several African progressives from other parts of Africa and the diaspora to Ghana, making Ghana the “Mecca of African Unity.”
However, after the overthrow of President Nkrumah in 1966, the new political leadership blamed Ghana’s economic woes on the influx of Nigerian migrants.
Under Prime Minister, Kofi Abrefa Busia and President Edward Akufo-Addo, a new law, known as, Aliens Compliance Order, was enacted in 1969 and enforced to expel thousands of migrants (mostly Nigerians) on short notice, many of whom sold their properties (including houses) cheaply as they departed.
14 years later, the government of oil-booming Nigeria expelled Ghanaians who had fled to Nigeria en mass to escape Ghana’s ailing economy and a period of drought, in the infamous “Ghana Must Go” of 1983.
Despite the thorny relationship, Nigeria remains one of Ghana’s closest and largest trading partners with several notable companies such as Kasapreko (from Ghana) and Dangote (from Nigeria) taking advantage of the wider market.
By Lord Kweku Sekyi