Closing of Nigeria borders did not flout ECOWAS treaty – NUTAG


Business News of Saturday, 5 September 2020

Source: Happy 98.9FM

2020-09-05

In August 2019, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari closed Nigeria’s borders to imported goodsIn August 2019, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari closed Nigeria’s borders to imported goods

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President of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association of Ghana (NUTAG), Emeka Nnaji has said that Nigeria’s closing of borders to movement of goods last year cannot be compared to the Ghana-Nigeria impasse on trade as the former was not a violation of the ECOWAS treaty.

In August last year, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari closed Nigeria’s borders to imported goods, declaring the time had come to end rampant smuggling across the porous frontiers.

While some have equalled this move by the country to the closure of shops owned by Nigerians in Ghana, Emeka Nnaji has said that it will be very wrong to make such a comparison.

Explaining why that is so, he told Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show, “Nigeria’s borders were closed based on the fact that the Beninois were using a dumping character in Nigeria’s borders and they complain they have no logistics which Nigeria provides for them”.

He contrasted this situation with what was happening between Ghanaian traders and Nigerian traders in Ghana by stating that the forceful closure is against ECOWAS treaty.

“Ghanaians subscribed to ECOWAS and they have a benefit from ECOWAS. And ECOWAS says this is how you have to treat our citizens. So if you sign this, you have agreed. It is not as if we do not know there is a law in the land. We do know. But the ECOWAS law says the same legislation you use for your nationals will be applied to ECOWAS citizens and that is why your passport has ECOWAS on it. We are citizens of West Africa and that is what the whole thing is all about.”

He added that if Ghana wanted its laws on foreigners’ trading to be in full force, it should have consulted the ECOWAS so that the law would apply. But as it stands now, Ghana must adhere to the laws of ECOWAS.

There has been an existing trade feud between Nigerian traders in Ghana and Ghanaian traders following concerns raised by Ghanaian traders that foreigners have taken over the retail business which has been designated to Ghanaians under the GIPC Act 2013 (Act 865). This has led to the forceful closure of Nigerian owned shops by the Ghana Union of Traders Association.

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