The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives says the delegation he led to Ghana for a two-day fact-finding mission has concluded that Ghana is not at fault in the trade impasse.
Addressing President Akufo-Addo and senior members of his administration including the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Ocquye, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said “the issue at hand is basically a misconception and misinformation,” which he and his delegation had come to understand of the situation during their visit.
“The people, perhaps, the media on both sides as well… As to what exactly is going on in Ghana as far as Nigerians are concerned, we have taken time to educate our people here about those misconceptions. We deliberated and resolved that whatever needs to be done on both sides, to make sure that this relationship remains the relationship it used to be and still is, we will do.”
Nigerian foreign minister
The Foreign Affairs Minister of Nigeria, Geoffrey Onyeama, on the 17th of August 2020 made an announcement in a tweet, as he expressed his government’s displeasure with a video that went viral showing the closure of some shops that allegedly belong to Nigerian traders in Ghana. In his tweet, Foreign Minister Onyeama said, “Nigerian government has watched with dismay the painful videos of the forceful closure of the shops of Nigerian traders in Ghana”.
Urgent steps will be taken
The visit of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria to Ghana to meet with the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, and subsequently the President of the Republic, can be seen as a legislative diplomatic attempt to arrest the unfortunate rhetoric of the Nigerian diplomat.
Request for Legislation Review
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, in his statement to President Akufo-Addo, said he has suggested to the Parliamentary leadership of Ghana to reconsider the legislation that imposes a huge surcharge on foreigners who intend to trade in Ghana.
“We have appealed to Parliament that if it is possible at all, and it is an appeal if it is possible at all to please look again at the issues as far as the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act is concerned, then they should please do so. If it is not possible, then let us look at ways where the pain can be a little bit reduced, or the difficulties in meeting those expectations espoused in the law can be reduced,” Speaker Gbajabiamila noted.
“We have proffered suggestions which we are working on, one of which is, as he did mention, was the establishment of a Ghana, Nigeria Business Council backed by legislation on both sides,” the Nigerian Speaker of the House of Representatives addressed.
Addressing the Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila-led delegation, President Akufo-Addo, said he was really taken aback and alarmed by the statement of the federal Minister for Information of Nigeria.
“I was alarmed when I read the statement. If these are really the attitudes and sentiments of the federal government of Nigeria, then we were in a really serious problem,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Review of Legislation
President Akufo-Addo assured the Nigerian Speaker of the House of Representatives and his delegation that all the suggestions they had made from the establishment of the Ghana-Nigerian Business Council to legislative reviews are all welcomed and they will be given opportune attention by his government.
“The review that you are asking for, why not? If that is worth doing from our mutual perspectives, it will make a lot of sense, so you can take it for granted that the request that you have made will be treated seriously and we will have a look at it,” President Akufo-Addo said.