Separatists Attack East Ghana Police Stations, Detain Three Officers

A file picture of the Ghanaian Flag
A file picture of the Ghanaian Flag

 

Suspected members of a separatist group seeking an independent state in eastern Ghana on Friday stormed two police stations and detained three officers, a senior official said.  

Regional minister Archibald Letsa said attackers — believed to be from the secessionist Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) — launched the raids at dawn in the towns of Aveyime and Mepe in the Volta region.

“The security is on top of the situation,” Letsa told AFP.

“We’re working to get the policemen released. It’s a critical situation we find ourselves right now.”

He said the separatists — who want to establish a new nation of “Western Togoland” — set up roadblocks at various entry points to the region, some 150 kilometres (95 miles) northeast of the capital Accra.

Eyewitnesses said the group hoisted flags and mounted signposts with the inscription “Western Togoland Restoration. We stand for our right”.

Car tyres were burned at the roadblocks.

One of the separatists told local media the group was “seeking independence of our great motherland”.

“This is our land and we are taking over. Nothing will stop us,” the source said.

Travellers from the region reported major disruptions.

“We are currently stranded. We’ve been in traffic since 5am,” Linda Asante, a trader told AFP.

“Initially, we thought it was normal traffic until we realised the road has been blocked by this group.”

Ghana’s police warned road users were “likely to experience traffic due to security operations within those areas” and urged them to “exercise caution”.

Separatists began campaigning in the 1970s for a breakaway nation in the region they say has a unique history and culture.

Last November the group nominally declared independence for the territory.

That move followed a crackdown by the authorities last May that saw some of the group’s leaders arrested.

They were later released after treason charges were dropped.

Claims for independence have their roots in the region’s complex colonial history.

During the so-called “Scramble for Africa” in the 19th century, Britain seized much of what is today Ghana, while Germany grabbed neighbouring Togo.

After Germany’s defeat in World War I, the land was split between British Togoland and French Togoland.

When Britain left its empire in Africa, British Togoland became part of eastern Ghana in 1956.

Ghana — viewed as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies — is gearing up for presidential elections in December.

The Volta region is a stronghold of the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, which is looking to unseat incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo.

AFP

FilmOne To Distribute Disney Films In West Africa

People buy tickets for Disney’s Mulan film at a cinema inside a shopping mall in Bangkok on September 8, 2020. – Disney’s “Mulan” remake is facing fresh boycott calls after it emerged some of the blockbuster was filmed in China’s Xinjiang, where widespread rights abuses against the region’s Muslim population have been widely documented. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

 

Nigerian film distributor, FilmOne Entertainment, has signed an exclusive theatrical distribution agreement with The Walt Disney Company Africa to distribute the Disney film slate in Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia.

The deal, which came into effect on September 1, covers titles from all of the Walt Disney Studios divisions, which include Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures and Blue Sky Pictures.

“We are proud to be Disney’s film distribution partner for West Africa and see this as the beginning of an exciting new chapter for both companies in the region,” Kene Okwuosa, Moses Babatope and Craig Shurn, directors of FilmOne Entertainment, said in a joint statement announcing the deal.

“Our expertise and knowledge of the market, coupled with the unrivalled quality of Disney’s titles, will drive box-office growth for many years to come.”

The partnership with Disney adds to a list of high-profile relationships FilmOne has with industry leaders, including ones with Warner Bros, Netflix, Empire Entertainment (South Africa) and Huahua (China).

Reacting to the deal, Christine Service, Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa, said “With their in-depth knowledge of the region and expertise in bringing theatrical releases to fans, we are thrilled to welcome FilmOne as our distribution partner for this territory.”

According to FilmOne, with the gradual easing of the COVID-19 restrictions, the partnership with Disney Africa will present a packed slate of films that audiences are patiently waiting to see. Among the most anticipated releases are: Mulan, The New Mutants, The King’s Man, Death on the Nile, Black Widow, Soul, Free Guy, The Last Duel and Eternals.

You Will Get Justice, FG Assures Nigerian Traders In Ghana

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

 

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has assured Nigerian traders that they will get justice following alleged maltreatment meted on them by Ghanaian authorities.

He gave the assurance on Tuesday during a meeting with representatives of the Nigerian community in Ghana held at the official residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana.

“I will certainly convey the depth of your grievances to the President,” he said.

“I am sure that he will be deeply disturbed to hear that despite the assurances that he had received, (from the Ghanaian government) there are still problems and complications many of which have been discussed at the highest levels with assurances of resolutions given.

According to him, “the delay in resolving these issues may be due to bureaucratic bottlenecks which are generally a drag on government activities.

“I look forward to getting the details and making sure that we are able to begin to resolve some of these issues as quickly as possible.

“But I think you must also recognize that generally speaking, governments tend to be very slow, processes are slow, bureaucracies are slow, but we will make sure that we do the very best we can to get you your rights so that at least you are dealt with justly.

While referring to efforts made in the past and even recently to resolve the crisis, Osinbajo added: “I have followed closely developments here, and many of the incidents that you have described, I am already very familiar with.

“As a matter of fact, the President had asked that a review of all that had taken place to be done.”

He said “there have been direct communications between our President and President Akufo-Addo. Our President has spoken to him about this, he has made a formal complaint to him, and that conversation has been going on.

“What the Ghanaian government pledged to do, on three occasions, was that the shops will be reopened. In fact, I am a bit surprised that it has not taken place because my understanding was that, that was going to be done.

“So, I think what we need to do aggressively is to follow-up with the Ghanaian government and to see that these things are done.”

Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said “I am sure you are familiar with the fact that there was a meeting between the Minister of Trade and Industry of Ghana and a team led by our own Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investments in Abuja. That took place on the 3rd of September, while the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila was meeting with his counterpart here.

“Now, it is very evident from what you have said here that there is so much that had gone wrong over a long period of time and we really need to address these concerns in as detailed a manner as possible. And what I can say to you is that this is a matter that concerns the government very greatly…your welfare concerns us greatly.”

The Vice President however urged all affected traders through their associations and leaders to submit a more detailed letter containing the number of affected shops and other relevant information that would enable the Nigerian government follow-up effectively their Ghanaian authorities.

He said: “perhaps it might be important if we have specific details of the shops that need to be reopened so that we can check and say how many (I think that at some point we had a list of about 160 or so, shops).

“So, I think we should have a list with specifics so that even if we are told that something has been done, we can cross-check and see to it that it has actually taken place.”

The Vice President then urged Nigerians living in Ghana to remain law-abiding and to embrace peaceful coexistence, while adding that both governments would resolve the differences.

“I think that is up to us now, to our two governments, and to those of you who live here and Ghanaians who live in Nigeria, to ensure that we are able to bring about peace and to live with each other. Governments have serious roles to protect the lives of citizens especially foreign citizens,” the VP added.

Earlier at the meeting, the First Vice President of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG), Chief Kizito Obiorah, and a publisher of an Online medium, Mr. Destiny Austin Omon, took turns to present copies of their petitions to the Vice President before speaking about the numerous challenges faced by Nigerians in Ghana especially. They called for an urgent intervention by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

For Chief Obiorah, the situation is becoming unbearable as many Nigerian traders whose shops had been locked since November 2019 have now resorted to begging to take care of their families.

The representative of the traders appealed to the Nigerian government to prevail on their Ghanaian counterpart to reopen their shops to enable them to sell off their goods and return home to Nigeria.

Supporting the traders’ associations’ position by detailing a timeline of cases of rights infringements against Nigerians by Ghanaian authorities, Mr. Omon said Nigerians were fast losing their self-esteem and dignity as a result of their maltreatment in the hands of Ghanaian authorities.

On his part, the representative of Nigerian students, Mr. Adebayo Ogunkoya called for improved support for Nigerian students studying abroad and especially in Ghana, noting the peculiar situation in the West African country.

Other officials at the meeting included the Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada; the President of NUTAG, Chief Chukwuemeka Nnaji, some executives of the body, among others.

Nigerian Business Group, Traders In Ghana Commend Gbajabiamila For Interfering In Dispute

Gbajabiamila Intervenes in Nigeria-Ghana dispute

 

The Nigeria-Ghana Business Council and the Nigeria Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG) have commended the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila over his intervention in the trade disputes with the government of Ghana.

Members of the Nigeria-Ghana Business Council said through their President, Omoba Bambo Ademiluyi, that Gbajabiamila’s visit to Ghana has made a positive impact and paved the way for an amicable resolution to the trade dispute.

In a letter of appreciation and commendation dated September 5 and addressed to the Speaker, Mr. Ademiluyi said: “It is on record that your trip brought about the highest involvement of both governments in this dispute that has been on since 2007.

“Your proposals and presentations have given rise to two very vital solutions to the problem: 1. The review of the GIPC Act demanding a $1,000,000 deposit for foreign investors in Ghana as it concerns Nigerians. 2. The promotion of the Nigeria-Ghana Business Council backed by legislation to superintend on trade and business issues between the two countries.”

He said the formation of the business council as proposed by the Speaker was a welcome development.

“Our objectives and activities align with the proposal which is being introduced to superintend trade issues of the two countries.

“It is, therefore, our wish to express support for the formation of this council and request that we work with your team to see to a successful emergence of a government-backed Business Council.”

On their part, members of NUTAG said in another letter addressed to the Speaker dated September 6 that Gbajabiamila’s visit and engagement with the Ghanaian authorities were timely and the right step in the right direction.

In the letter, signed by the association’s President, Chukwuemeka Nnaji, the Nigerian traders urged the Speaker not to despair in ensuring that resolutions reached during the interface are implemented by all concerned parties.

The traders noted that Gbajabiamila’s intervention was a testimony that President Muhammadu Buhari and the government of Nigeria have the interest of Nigerians at home and abroad at heart.

The letter reads in part: “Your Excellency, please, allow me to seize this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association of Ghana (NUTAG), for your kind, responsible and timely intervention to quell the much travails we have been experiencing at the hands of Ghanaian authorities and our Ghanaian counterpart, Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).

“Sir, the leadership of NUTAG and all Nigerian traders in Ghana, as well as other Nigerians living in Ghana, deeply appreciate your recent visit to Ghana in order to try and resolve the lingering trade impasse between Ghana and Nigeria; in unison, we hail this as the right step in the right direction.

“The move at once displays that the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria led by His Excellency, President Muhammad Buhari has all Nigerian citizens very close at heart, both at home and abroad.

“We are indeed very grateful to you and the entire team who embarked on this journey, and we are optimistic that an end to our travails in Ghana is at hand.”

The president of the trade union, however, stated that a lot of Nigerian traders in Ghana are finding things difficult as their means of livelihood have been shut down.

The traders appealed to the Nigerian Government to engage with the Ghanaian Government to reopen the said shops pending an enduring solution to the impasse.

After Gbajabiamila Meeting, Ghana Considers Reviewing $1 Million Business Requirement

Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Ado, discuss bilateral relations on September 3, 2020.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila (L), and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, discuss bilateral relations on September 3, 2020.

 

Ghanaian President, Prof. Nana Akufo-Addo has suggested he is open to reviewing his country’s $1m capital base requirement for foreign businesses, Nigeria’s House of Representatives said in a statement on Friday.

President Akufo-Addo gave the indications after meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday.

Gbajabiamila was visiting Ghana on a “legislative diplomacy” over hostilities against Nigerians living in the West African country.

The Federal Government, in a litany of complaints against the Ghanaian government’s treatment of Nigerians, had criticised the amended Ghana law which requires foreign-owned businesses to have a minimum capital base of US$1m.

“Though targeted at foreigners, it seems GIPC’s definition of foreigners is Nigerians,” Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, said in a statement on August 28.

At the Thursday meeting with the Ghanaian President, Gbajabiamila asked for a review of the law, according to a statement signed by House spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Kalu.

In response, President Akufo-Addo said the request was in order as it “makes a lot of sense”, the statement said.

The Ghanaian President also expressed satisfaction with Gbajabiamila’s visit, endorsed his proposal for the establishment of a ‘Nigeria-Ghana Business Council’ established by law in both countries, and additionally suggested the setting up of a joint ministerial committee between the two countries that will “shepherd” issues between Ghana and Nigeria, Kalu’s statement added.

 

Trade Dispute: Nigeria, Ghana To Establish Business Council

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (2nd left) and the Speaker of the Ghanaian parliament, Rt. Hon. Mike Oquaye (2nd right) on their way out after meeting with the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Ado towards the resolution of some issues involving Nigeria and Ghana in Accra on Thursday, 3 September, 2020. Photo: Speaker’s Media Unit.

 

 

Nigeria and Ghana are considering the establishment of a business council, as well as a joint ministerial committee as part of efforts to address some of the disputes facing both countries.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Official Spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Rep. Benjamin O. Kalu on Friday.

According to the statement, the President of Ghana, Professor Nana Akufo Addo assured the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, of the readiness of the Ghanaian government to consider the resolutions reached at the ‘Legislative Diplomacy Bilateral Meeting’ between senior legislators of both countries on September 2, 2020, at the Ghanaian Parliament House.

The Ghanaian President gave the assurance when the Speaker of Ghana’s parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, upon completion of the 2-day extensive dialogue, led his Nigerian counterpart on a courtesy visit to the President at the Jubilee House, Accra, Ghana on Thursday.

The legislative diplomacy dialogue became imperative as the parliaments of the two countries sought modalities to resolve challenges and provide an enabling business environment for foreign traders including Nigerians doing business in Ghana.

Several foreign businesses, many Nigerian-owned, in Ghana have been facing challenges in the demand for $1m capital base for foreign traders, as enshrined in the Ghana Investment Promotion Center GIPC Act (2013).

Responding to a request by Gbajabiamila for a review of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act to make certain concessions, President Akufo-Addo said the request was in order as it “makes a lot of sense”.

 

President of Ghana, Professor Nana Akufo Ado and Nigeria’;s Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila discuss at a meeting to resolve trade dispute between both countries.

 

The Ghanaian President, who expressed satisfaction with Gbajabiamila’s visit, endorsed his proposal for the establishment of a ‘Nigeria-Ghana Business Council’ established by law in both countries, and he additionally suggested the setting up of a joint ministerial committee between the two countries that will “shepherd” issues between Ghana and Nigeria.

He told Gbajabiamila he would also raise the issue with President Muhammadu Buhari when they meet at the ECOWAS Summit on Monday.

“I think the way forward, which is really what matters in situations like this, that is being suggested, one that I find very acceptable, the idea of legislation, a Nigeria-Ghana business council that will superintendent trade matters and investment matters between our two countries, may be long overdue,” Akufo Addo said.

“The time has come for us to take these worthwhile steps. I suggested to Mr. President that it will be a good idea to set up a joint ministerial committee of ministers from both sides who will be responsible for shepherding Ghana and Nigeria issues, reporting to both presidents at any one time, and that is how they should be resolved.”

“I am hoping when I see him on Monday for the ECOWAS summit, we can advance these discussions and come to a final conclusion.

“The way you yourselves have come about this matter is very satisfactory, and it requires our support. The review that you are asking for, why not? if it works in our mutual perspectives, we can take it for granted that your request will be taken seriously. We will have a look at it.”

“So, the request for the review makes a lot of sense,” the Ghanaian President added.

Earlier, Gbajabiamila, who was in the company of some of his colleagues in Nigeria’s House of Representatives, which included the Chairmen of House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Media and Public Affairs, Deputy chairmen of committee on Diaspora, Federal road safety and a member of the ECOWAS Parliament, told the Ghanaian President at the Jubilee House, that they were in Ghana to make efforts through parliamentary diplomacy to resolve the issues at stake.

 

President of Ghana, Professor Nana Akufo Ado meets with Nigeria’s Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila nd other officials to discuss ways to resolve trade dispute between both countries.

 

“We have appealed to the (Ghanaian) Parliament that if it’s possible at all to look again at the issues, as far as the Ghana Investment Promotion Center Act is concerned, they should please do so.

“If it is not possible, then let us look at ways the pain can be reduced, like those expectations required in the law.

“We’ve proffered a few suggestions one of which is the establishment of Ghana Nigeria Business Council backed by legislation on both sides,” Gbajabiamila said.

Meanwhile, in a communique issued jointly at the end of the bilateral meeting between members of the two Parliaments led by their respective Speakers, Gbajabiamila and Prof. Mike Oquaye, it was resolved that “measures will be adopted to support law-abiding traders to properly regularise their business operations to alleviate the trade challenges occasioned by the alleged closure of the retail stores, in view of the ravaging impact of COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and families in both countries.”

They acknowledged that many stakeholders in the retail sector have limited appreciation of the trade laws of Ghana, in particular, Section 28 of the GIPC Act, which provides for the conditions under which non-Ghanaians can engage in trading activities and urged the relevant regulatory authorities including the GIPC and Trade Attaches of foreign missions to educate their citizens on the trade laws.

They equally emphasized the need to respect the sovereignty of Member States of ECOWAS and their laws but, in doing so, efforts must be made to ensure that the ECOWAS Agenda for free movement of people and goods in furtherance of a shared and prosperous future of citizens of the sub-region is not compromised.

“A meeting will be held between the Trade and Foreign Affairs Committees of both Legislatures to deliberate on applications of Trade Laws, in particular, the GIPC Act, 2013 (Act 865) and make recommendations for appropriate solutions; and a Joint Committee will be established composed of Members of both Legislatures to explore the possible passage of reciprocal legislation, which could be potentially called the “Ghana-Nigeria Friendship Act” which shall propose “Ghana-Nigeria Business Council” to provide a framework to sustain the friendship and benefits to citizens of the two nations.”

On departure from Ghana on Thursday, Gbajabiamila expressed his gratitude to his counterpart for his statesmanship, leadership and hospitality, which made it possible for both countries to resolve thorny issues through legislative diplomacy.

Nigeria, Ghana Working To Resolve Trade Dispute, Says Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila (left) with his Ghanaian counterpart, Prof. Mike Oquaye, PhD after a legislative diplomatic meeting to resolve some issues between the two countries in Accra on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Photo: Speaker’s Media Unit

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that efforts are ongoing to resolve the dispute between Nigerian traders and the Ghanaian Government.

A statement by the Speaker’s Spokesman, Lanre Lasisi, on Wednesday, said Mr Gbajabiamila led a delegation of lawmakers from the House of Representatives on a two-day legislative diplomatic mission to Ghana and met with the Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye.

Mr Gbajabiamila, according to the statement, was accompanied by the Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Buba Yusuf; Chairman House Committee on Media, Benjamin Kalu; House Member of Ecowas Parliament, Bayo Balogun, Ikenna Elezieanya, Ephraim Nwuzi, and Balarabe Shehu.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila (right), on a legislative diplomatic mission to Ghana being received at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra by the Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament, Mike Oquaye, on Wednesday, 2 September 2020. Photo: Speaker’s Media Unit

 

Members of the Nigerian delegation who were received by Oquaye expressed confidence for an amicable resolution of the issues being raised.

Mr Gbajabiamila said, “There’s something in modern-day parlance called legislative diplomacy or parliamentary diplomacy, and that’s what obtains all over the world today. Diplomacy is done from all angles, including backchannel such as what we are doing now and sometimes you get results that you can only imagine. So, I look forward to a fruitful discussion as we move forward.

“In Africa, you cannot talk about Nigeria without talking about Ghana and you cannot talk about Ghana without talking about Nigeria and, therefore, it has become incumbent on us; one as leaders of parliament and two, generally as parliamentarians to bring to bear this concept of legislative diplomacy for fruitful results.”

“The weight and burden of our international relationship rest actually on parliamentary shoulders and it is my hope that we will, in two days, reach some resolutions that will settle both countries,” Mr Gbajabiamila added.

READ ALSO: FEC Approves $3.1bn For Automation Of Nigeria Customs

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila (4th right) and his entourage at a legislative diplomatic meeting with the Speaker of the Ghanaian parliament, Mike Oquaye, (3rd right) and some members of the Ghanaian Parliament to resolve some issues involving the two countries in Accra on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Photo: Speaker’s Media Unit

 

The Ghanaian Speaker, while thanking Mr Gbajabiamila for honouring his call, believes because of the strong relationship between both countries, there are tendencies for issues like this to come up, but what matters is the methods adopted to resolve the issues.

“Ghana and Nigeria are like the tongue and the teeth, they must interact, and sometimes the teeth may do havoc, and yet it never regrets the taste that the tongue gives to it. That’s what happens if we don’t interact.

“Even when we step on one another’s feet, in the process we should come to realise that there’s a need to continue to be together and we, therefore, welcome you. Thank you very much for your keenness in responding to my call that we should meet and you took a quick step in arranging to be here today.”

“I trust in the next two days, we will bring a beautiful reunion to our two nations,” he maintained.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila (left) with his Ghanaian counterpart, Mike Oquaye, PhD after a legislative diplomatic meeting to resolve some issues between the two countries in Accra on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Photo: Speaker’s Media Unit

 

The statement added that after the first-day visit, Mr Gbajabiamila, and his delegation went to the Nigerian High Commission where they met with leaders of the Nigerian Union of Traders and Selected Stakeholders to hear from the traders about their experiences.

The leader of the Nigerian traders in Ghana, Chukwuemeka Nnaji, informed Mr Gbajabiamila that they have been subjected to a lot of hardship by the Ghanaian authorities since 2007.

He appealed to the Speaker to follow up on the legislative diplomatic initiative in order to ensure that the resolutions arrived at were implemented by the Ghanaian authorities.

See more photos below:

Gbajabiamila To Visit Ghana On ‘Legislative Diplomacy’ Over Maltreatment Of Nigerians

A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says he will embark on a ‘legislative diplomacy’ visit to Ghana on Wednesday, over hostilities against Nigerians living in the West African country.

Gbajabiamila who made this known to State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.

According to the Speaker, he got the blessing from President Buhari to meet with his Ghanaian counterpart to find a solution to the problem.

“I am leaving for Ghana tomorrow to meet with the Speaker of the Parliament in Ghana to look at the issues on ground as it affects our citizens, to try and calm things down to see if there is a way forward.

“I informed the President; he is aware of every single step that we are taking. We hope that we will come to an amicable settlement one way or the other,” he said.

 

When asked what his demands were, Gbajabiamila said he was not demanding anything on behalf of the Nigerian government.

The Speaker explained that his mission to Ghana is to “discuss and see how the two countries can resolve whatever the issues are. It is not about making demands, it is diplomacy.”

READ ALSO: Lagos Govt Commences Reconstruction Of Helicopter Crash Site

This comes four days after the Nigerian Government warned that it would no longer tolerate the maltreatment of its citizens in Ghana.

In a statement issued on August 28 by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the Federal Government is deeply concerned by the incessant harassment and the progressive acts of hostility towards the country by Ghanaian authorities.

To Mohammed, the President Buhari administration is urgently considering a number of options, as part of measures to contain the situation.

He also revealed that the government “has been documenting the acts of hostility towards Nigeria and Nigerians by the Ghanaian authorities.”

But reacting on August 30, Ghana’s Information Minister, Endkojo Oppong Nkrumah, faulted claims made by the Nigerian government.

He however explained that President Nana Akufo-Addo will engage with President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the matters amicably.

While reiterating the country’s commitment to maintaining what could be described as warm relations between the two countries, Nkrumah said the move is necessary to guard against straining the diplomatic ties.

 

Akinwumi Adesina Sworn-In For Second Term As AfDB President

 

Dr Akinwumi Adesina has been sworn-in as the newly re-elected eighth President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) for a second term.

The swearing-in ceremony and oath-taking took place on Tuesday and was broadcast virtually.

The event was attended by Heads of States, Governors, Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, and over 200 external stakeholders who joined physically and virtually.

The Chairperson of the AfDB board of Governors and Ghana’s Finance Minister, Kenneth Ofori-Attah, administered the oath of office.

READ ALSO: Lagos Govt Commences Reconstruction Of Helicopter Crash Site

President-elect of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, giving his inaugural speech after his swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

 

Dr Adesina, Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, was re-elected on August 27 to serve a second five-year term, after a unanimous vote of all Governors, regional and non-regional members of the Bank.

The election which was announced by the former Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Bank, Mrs. Niale Kaba, Minister of National Planning of Côte d’Ivoire, took place on the last day of the 2020 55th Annual Meetings.

The AfDB President described his re-election as historic, becoming the first President of the bank to be re-elected by 100 percent votes of all its shareholders and the first Nigerian to hold the post.

During his first 5-year term in office, the bank focused on five key development priorities known as the High 5s: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.

The bank, Africa’s premier development finance institution, comprising of 54 regional and 27 non-regional member countries, was able to impact the lives of 335 million Africans.

Ghana To Reopen International Airport On Tuesday

(File Photo) Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo

 

Ghana will reopen its international airport on Tuesday but with new regulations in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the president announced.

Kotoka International Airport, located outside the capital Accra, was closed in March along with other border points in a bid to contain the virus in the west African country.

“I am glad to announce that Kotoka International Airport will reopen and resume operations from Tuesday, 1st September 2020,” President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a nationwide broadcast late Sunday.

He said land borders would remain closed.

New safety measures have been imposed to prevent passengers bringing the virus into the country.

“Any passenger arriving in Ghana must be in possession of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory in the country of origin,” he said.

The test should have been done not more than 72 hours before their departure.

All airlines are to ensure compliance with the directive for passengers wishing to travel to Ghana, he said.

In addition, arriving passengers must undergo a Covid-19 test at the airport terminal at their own cost, though children under five will be exempt, he said.

“Passengers, who test positive for Covid-19, will be handled by the health authorities for further clinical assessment and management.”

The virus has so far infected 44,205 people and claimed 276 lives in in the country of around 30 million people.

 

AFP

Ghana’s Akufo-Addo To Engage President Buhari Over Maltreatment Of Nigerians, Others

(File Photo) Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo

 

The Ghanaian Government has reacted to claims made by the Federal Government over the maltreatment of Nigerians in the country among other issues raised.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Ghana’s Minister of Information, Endkojo Oppong Nkrumah, said President Nana Akufo-Addo will engage with President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the matters amicably.

While reiterating the country’s commitment to maintaining what could be described as warm relations between the two countries, Nkrumah said the move is necessary to guard against straining the diplomatic ties.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Will No Longer Tolerate Harassment Of Citizens In Ghana – FG

This comes two days after Nigeria’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed said the Federal Government will no longer tolerate further maltreatment of its citizens in Ghana.

 SEE FULL STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE GHANAIAN GOVERNMENT HERE:

 

                                                                       Republic of Ghana

                                                                  MINISTRY OF INFORMATION  PO. BOX M 41, ACCRA

Tel No: +233-(0)30-2227201

Fax No: +233-(0)30-2229786 EMAIL: info.m [email protected]

August 30, 2020

STATEMENT

The Government of Ghana notes, with concern, a statement, dated Friday, August 28, 2020, issued by the Ministry of Information and Culture and signed by the Federal Minister, Hon. Lai Mohammed, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, concerning current relations between Ghana and Nigeria.

Ghana remains committed to the maintenance of warm relations with all sister nations, particularly, for well-known historical reasons, with the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and will proceed to engage the Federal Government of Nigeria with a view to resolve comprehensively and exhaustively any matters that have the potential to sour relations between the two countries.

Ghana finds it imperative, however, from the onset, to state, for the public record, that the outline of issues by my Nigerian counterpart is not reflective of the developments in Ghana. Any protests, decisions or actions based on these reports will, thus, be unjustified.

We are obliged, therefore, as a first step, to provide our counterparts, as well as the Ghanaian and Nigerian publics, with a more reflective account of events, even as we pursue substantive diplomatic engagements to resolve matters.

(I) Accusation:

The seizure of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 10, Barnes Road, Accra which has been used as diplomatic premises by the Nigerian Government for almost 50 years; and which action, is a serious breach of the Vienna Convention.

Response:

This statement is inaccurate. The transaction was a commercial arrangement between Thomas D. Hardy, a private citizen and the High Commission of Nigeria in Ghana on 23rd October 1959.

The terms of the Commercial Lease expired 46 years ago, without any evidence of renewal by the High Commission of Nigeria in Ghana. The Government of Ghana was not involved in the transaction and has not seized the property in question.

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(II) Accusation:

Also, even though the main reason given for the seizure of Federal Government property at No. 10 Barnes Road in Accra is the non-renewal of Lease after expiration, the Ghanaian authority did not give Nigeria the right of first refusal or the notice to renew the Lease. By contrast, the lease on some of the properties occupied by the Ghanaian Mission in Nigeria has long expired, yet such properties have not been seized.

Response: The Government of Ghana does not, did not and never owned the land, and has not been involved in the seizure of any property of the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana. The land in question is owned by the Osu Stool and managed by the Lands Commission.

In response to the claim that the lease on some of the properties owned by the Ghana Mission in Nigeria has long expired, it must be noted that the Government acquired a freehold land at Pope John Paul II Street in Abuja in 1989 through a commercial arrangement, and built the current structures on it. The staff of the Ghana High Commission in Abuja have been living there since the construction of the current structures.

(III) Accusation:

Demolition of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, East Ridge, Accra, which constitutes another serious breach of the Vienna Convention.

Response:

This statement is not factual. A search at the Lands Commission indicated that the Nigerian High Commission failed to complete the documentation process after paying for the land in the year 2000 A.D. The High Commission failed to acquire the Lease and Land Title Certificate, which constitute documentation for the said property, as well as a building permit for construction. In Ghana, land is owned not only by the Government, but also by Stools and Families.

The demolition of the property was not carried out by agents of the Ghanaian Government, but by agents of the Osu Stool. Nonetheless, the Government of Ghana, valuing the relations between our two countries, has decided to restore the property, at its own cost, to its original state for the Nigerian High Commission, and has duly communicated same to the Nigerian Authorities. The Government of Ghana has also agreed to facilitate the proper acquisition of title by the Nigerian High Commission, as announced by Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time of the incident.

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(IV) Accusation:

Aggressive and incessant deportation of Nigerians from Ghana. Between January 2018 and February 2019, Eight Hundred and Twenty-Five (825) Nigerians were deported from Ghana.

Response:

This statement is not factual. In 2019, seven hundred (700) Nigerians, who were found to have been involved in criminal activities such as fraud, prostitution, armed robbery etc., were deported.

(V) Accusation:

Residency permit requirement, for which Ghana Immigration Service has placed huge fees far higher than the fees charged by the Nigerian Immigration Service. These include the compulsory non- citizen ID card (US$120, US$ 60 for yearly renewal); medical examinations, including for COVID-19 which is newly introduced (about US$ 120), and payment for residency permit (US$ 400 compared to the N700,000 being paid by Ghanaians for residency card in Nigeria).

Response:

It must be noted that all foreigners, who apply for resident permit in Ghana, pay same fees as stated above. These fees are not specific to Nigerians.

(VI) Accusation:

“Media war against Nigerians in Ghana. The negative reportage of issues concerning Nigerians resident in Ghana by the Ghanaian media is fuelling an emerging xenophobic attitude against Nigerian traders and Nigerians in general.

The immediate fallout is the incessant harassment and arrest of Nigerian traders and closure of their shops.”

Response:

The statement is not factual. There is no media war against Nigerians in Ghana.

There is also no negative reportage on Nigerian residents in Ghana by Ghanaian media, which could potentially lead to xenophobic attitude towards Nigerians, particularly Nigerian traders in Ghana.

No Nigerian trader has been arrested. The closure of shops was as a result of infractions on Ghanaian laws. Even then, those affected who are not only Nigerians, have been given ample time to regularise their documents. Furthermore, no Nigerian- owned shops are currently closed.

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On the contrary, the negative reportage has been against the Ghanaian Government from high places, (tweets by Foreign Minister of Nigeria and a Nigerian businessman, who appears to have political interests in Ghana), in Nigeria. This is inconsistent with established practice in our very good relations. The Press Release by the Information and Culture Minister of Nigeria is a clear departure from the manner in which officials of the two countries have related with each other in the past.

(VII) Accusation:

“Nigeria has time after time demonstrated its fidelity to the long cordial relations with Ghana. But indications especially in recent times, are that Nigeria’s stance is now being taken for granted and its citizens being made targets of harassment and objects of ridicule. This will no longer be tolerated under any guise.”

Response: Ghana has always demonstrated her commitment to excellent relations with Nigeria which is evidenced by the manner in which Ghanaian Government officials dealt with recent issues, which have had severe economic impact on our country.

Ghana did not resort to any media war. However, the Ghanaian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Trade travelled to Abuja to try to resolve diplomatically the issue of closure of Nigerian borders, and to seek safe corridor for ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) exports from Ghana, all to no avail. It is expected that the response of Nigerian Authorities to situations that evolve in our relations should be guided by the merits of the matter and our mutual interests.

(VIII) Accusation:

That three hundred (300), six hundred (600) and two hundred and fifty (250) shops belonging to Nigerians were closed down in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively

Response:

Upon evidence that some individuals, including Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians, had been involved in various forms of trade, without complying with the laws and regulations of Ghana, several engagements and prior advice had been given to encourage compliance.

Ghana’s Minister for Trade and Industry personally intervened to ensure the reopening of closed shops, pending compliance with Ghana’s laws by their operators.

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Among other corrective measures, the Committee on Foreigners in Retail Trade, comprising representatives of various regulatory agencies and institutions in Ghana, was tasked with the responsibility of conducting inspections of retail shops in designated commercial districts in both Accra and Kumasi to ensure compliance with retail trade laws and regulations.

The compliance exercises conducted in the selected markets revealed gross violations of retail trade laws and regulations by Ghanaians and foreigners, including Nigerians. These violations included tax evasion, immigration offenses, trading in sub-standard products, violation of the Ghana Investment

Promotion Centre (GIPC) law, improper registration of firms, under-payment of business operating permits, falsification of documents, among others.

In all cases, non-compliant shop owners are given adequate notice to regularize their documents, before action is taken to close any shop/business.

It is an incontestable fact that there is widespread abuse and disregard for local laws and regulations governing retail trade by some foreigners, including Nigerians, which need to be addressed without discrimination. It is important to note that the compliance exercise under reference is not restricted to either ECOWAS nationals or Nigerians for that matter, but extend to all individuals engaged in retail trade, including Ghanaians.

(IX) Accusation:

Harsh and openly biased judicial trial and pronouncements of indiscriminately long jail terms for convicted Nigerians.

Response:

Ghana’s courts, at all material times, function independently, and with strict respect for the Laws of Ghana, regardless of the nationalities of accused persons. Judges neither convict nor sentence with a bias for or against nationalities. Nigerians and Ghanaians convicted for same offenses are not treated differently.

(X) Accusation:

Outrageous stipulations and amendments of the GIPC Act.

Response:

It is untrue that the law has been amended twice, and, accordingly, there is no 2018 GIPC Act. Further, the statement that a review of the Act has increased the minimum capital base for foreign owned businesses to US$1.00m is false.

Perhaps the reference is to sections 27 (2 & 3) of the GIPC Act and relate solely to persons who are not citizens but want to engage in retail trade or trading activities, which are otherwise restricted exclusively to Ghanaians. Accordingly,

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‘a person who is not a citizen may engage in a trading Enterprise if that person invests in the Enterprise, not less than One Million United States Dollars in cash or goods and services relevant to the investments. Trading includes purchasing and selling of imported goods and services. The amount does not relate to the broad universe of investors. We are also somewhat astonished to have the laws of a sovereign nation described as outrageous, especially since they have not attracted the rebuff or criticism of any regional organization, especially

ECOWAS.

The Federal Republic, on the other hand, is on record to have taken a number of steps in recent months, in pursuit of her national interests, which have gravely affected other countries in the Region. These include the closure of Nigeria’s Seme Krake Border from August 2019 to date and the issuance of executive orders by Nigeria’s Presidency, preventing foreigners from getting jobs which Nigerians can do, to mention a few. Ghana and other West African countries continue to believe redress to even actions like these can be sought, diplomatically, without resort to media statements and related activities that have the potential to aggravate further the situation.

The aforementioned notwithstanding, the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who values very much his excellent relations with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadou Buhari, will engage President Buhari with a view to develop immediately a framework for validating claims of ill treatment of citizens of either country, and ensure citizens enjoy the full exercise of their rights, while respecting the sovereignty and laws of both countries. Ghana and Nigeria, as they have been doing, must continue to work together for a successful West Africa.

 

-ENDKOJO OPPONG NKRUMAH (MP)

MINISTER

Nigeria Will No Longer Tolerate Harassment Of Citizens In Ghana – FG

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

 

The Federal Government on Friday reacted to the harassment of Nigerians residing and doing businesses in Ghana.

In a statement by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the Federal Government said it is deeply concerned by the incessant harassment and the progressive acts of hostility towards the country by Ghanaian authorities and will no longer tolerate it.

As part of measures to contain the situation, the government is urgently considering a number of options, Mohammed said.

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The Minister revealed that the government “has been documenting the acts of hostility towards Nigeria and Nigerians by the Ghanaian authorities.”

 

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

PRESS RELEASE

Nigeria Will No Longer Tolerate Harassment of Its Citizens in Ghana – FG

The Nigerian Government is deeply concerned by the incessant harassment of its citizens in Ghana and the progressive acts of hostility towards the country by Ghanaian authorities and will no longer tolerate such.

In this regard, the Federal Government is urgently considering a number of options aimed at ameliorating the situation.

The Federal Government has been documenting the acts of hostility towards Nigeria and Nigerians by the Ghanaian authorities. These include:

– Seizure of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 10, Barnes Road, Accra, which the Nigerian Government has used as diplomatic premises for almost 50 years. This action is a serious breach of the Vienna Convention.

– Demolition of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, East Ridge, Accra, another serious breach of the Vienna Convention.

– Aggressive and incessant deportation of Nigerians from Ghana. Between Jan. 2018 and Feb. 2019, 825 Nigerians were deported from Ghana.

– Closure of shops belonging to Nigerians. Over 300 Nigerians shops were locked for four months in Kumasi in 2018; over 600 Nigerian shops were locked in 2019 and, currently, over 250 Nigerians shops have been locked.

– Residency Permit requirements, for which the Ghana Immigration Service has placed huge fees, far higher than the fees charged by the Nigerian Immigration Service. These include the compulsory Non-citizen ID card (US$120, and US$60 for yearly renewal); Medical examinations, including for Covid-19 which is newly-introduced (about US$120), and payment for residency permit (US$400 compared to the N7,000 being paid by Ghanaians for residency card in Nigeria)

– Outrageous stipulations in the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act. When the Act was initially promulgated in 1994, a foreigner is required to invest at least US$300,000 by way of equity capital and also employ 10 Ghanaians. This Act has now been amended twice, with the 2018 GIPC Act raising the minimum capital base for foreign-owned businesses to US$1m. Though targeted at foreigners, it seems GIPC’s definition of foreigners is Nigerians. The GIPC Act also negates the ECOWAS Protocol.

– Media war against Nigerians in Ghana. The negative reportage of issues concerning Nigerians resident in Ghana by the Ghanaian media is fuelling an emerging xenophobic attitude towards Nigerian traders and Nigerians in general. The immediate fallout is the incessant harassment and arrest of Nigerian traders and closure of their shops.

– Harsh and openly biased judicial trial and pronouncement of indiscriminately long jail terms for convicted Nigerians. There are currently over 200 Nigerians in the Nsawam Maximum prison in Ghana alone.

The Federal Government would like to put on record the fact that even though over 1 million Ghanaians are resident in Nigeria, they are not being subjected to the kind of hostility being meted out to Nigerians in Ghana.

Also, even though the main reason given for the seizure of Federal Government property at No. 10, Barnes Road in Accra is the non-renewal of lease after expiration, the Ghanaian authorities did not give Nigeria the right of first refusal or the notice to renew the lease.

By contrast, the lease on some of the properties occupied by the Ghanaian Mission in Nigeria has long expired, yet such properties have not been seized.

Nigeria has time after time demonstrated its fidelity to the long cordial relations with Ghana. But indications, especially in recent times, are that Nigeria’s stance is now being taken for granted and its citizens being made targets of harassment and objects of ridicule.

This will no longer be tolerated under any guise.

In the meantime, the Federal Government wishes to appeal to its citizens resident in Ghana to remain law abiding and avoid engaging in self-help, despite their ordeal.

 

Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Honourable Minister of Information and Culture

Abuja

28 Aug. 2020