The Senate yesterday sought for inquiry on the alleged closure of more than 600 shops and businesses belonging to Nigerians by Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) on December 2.
The resolution of the Senate to wade into the matter followed a motion sponsored by Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP Anambra) on “The need to investigate alleged ill treatment and injustices suffered by Nigerian Traders and Business owners in Ghana”.
Presenting the motion at plenary, Ubah decried the alleged injustice and ill treatment of Nigerian traders and Nigerian business owners in Ghana .
He said it was a concern because Ghana and Nigeria as members of ECOWAS have reciprocal obligations under the ECOWAS Protocol to their respective citizens to reside and do business within their territories without molestation.
Ubah said as at the end of 2010, Nigerian businesses accounted for 60 per cent of foreign investments in Ghana from African continent.
He said once flourishing economic relations between Nigeria and Ghana had come under repeated threats as a result of recent hostile posture of Ghanaian authorities and indigenous Ghanaian’s Traders Union towards Nigerian traders.
He said Ghanaians had adopted discriminatory legislations aimed at frustrating Nigerian traders such as the passage of the Ghana Investment Promotion Commission Act 865 (GIPC).
He said the act raised the amount of money in registering businesses owned by foreigners (mostly owned by Nigerians) in Ghana to 200, 000 dollars .
He said the act further prohibits foreigners from trading in particular markets.
He said the GIPC Act 865 of 2013 also prohibits ECOWAS citizens from engaging in Small and Medium Scale Enterprises ( SMEs) with a further prohibition on registration of SMEs by foreigners.
Ubah also said Nigeria citizens were facing frustrations in registering businesses given obstacles placed on genuine Nigerian entrepreneurs.
According to him, one of the obstacles was the requirement of proof of importation of I million dollars into Ghana.
This, he said was previously applicable to citizens of non-ECOWAS member states such as China and India, among others.
He said Nigeria and Ghana had previously set up a Joint Task Force from the Trade Ministries of both countries to inspect business facilities of companies registered under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS)in both countries.
He said both nation had also organised an economic summit in Accra in 2010 to address the dangers of threats to the business interests of Nigerians in Ghana.
He, however, said the measures and the protection offered Nigerian traders in the ECOWAS framework had failed to address the incessant threats to Nigerian businesses in Ghana.
He said that unless the senate intervenes, the situation may deteriorate into a serious diplomatic and economic crisis.
He said the complaints of affected Nigerian traders and business owners had yet to receive the deserved attention by appropriate authorities from the Federal Government of Nigeria in spite of repeated written complaints.
Ubah said there was an urgent need to investigate the allegations and indeed draw the attention of Federal Government of Nigeria and its relevant authorities to the unfortunate development.
Contributing, Sen. Binos Yaroe(PDP Adamawa), who seconded the motion, decried the hostility against Nigerian business in Ghana.
He said there was the need to put in place measures that would protect Nigerian business in Ghana.
However, Sen. Isa Jubril (APC Kogi), said every country had a policy on how to protect its indigenous enterprise.
Isa said the action of the Ghanaian authority was designed to protect the interest of its citizens, insisting there was need to investigate the matter.
But Sen. Abubakar Yusuf (APC Taraba), however, said that he differed from the proposed process of archiving the intended result.
He said some of the contents of the motion were highly speculative, noting that the issue was really an executive matter and the Senate should be careful on its handling of the matter.
However, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, (PDP Abia) said the motion seeks to draw the attention to what was happening to Nigerians in Ghana and seek to ensure that Nigerian Citizens were not unduly punished.
Sen. Sandy Onor (PDP Cross River), said that there was the need to investigate and see why Ghanaian authority was embarking on such policy.
The Senate, in its resolution, delegated its Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment to liaise with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to investigate the status of Nigerian businesses in Ghana.
In his remark, President of Senate Ahmad Lawan said that it was the responsibility of government to seek for the protection its citizens where ever they reside.
He said the time had come for Nigeria to engage Ghanaian authority to find out what the actual situation was and proffer solution.
Protest Rocks Kano Over Appeal Court Judgment
Protests erupted in Kano city and its environs on Monday afternoon with the demonstrators denouncing the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal that sacked the state Governor, Abba Yusuf.
The Tide’s source reports that uneasy calm pervaded the state capital following a contradictory Certified True Copy of the Appeal Court that affirmed the prayers of both the appellant and the respondent in the contentious Kano governorship, though the judiciary had since cleared the air.
In what appeared like a coordinated action on Monday, huge crowd of protesters had stormed strategic positions in the city as it visited temporary hiccups on commercial activities.
Kano- Zaria Road, Maiduguri Road by Muhammadu Buhari’s interchange, and Kantin Kwari (Kano textile market) were taken over by hundreds of youths who called for justice for Abba Yusuf.
Some of the placard read: “Kano my city my state”, “Justice for Kano”, “ Justice for Abba”, “Abba’s mandate was stolen in 2019, we will not allow it happen in 2023″.
The protest came on the heels of discovery by the Police that “some faceless group are bent on unleashing violence in Kano”, stressing that the police were on top of the situation.
Cp Hussaini Gumel told newsmen in Kano on Monday that already 7 suspects had been arrested and would be arraigned soon.
Gumel revealed that “we have the understanding with the leadership of the contending political parties, and they have signed a peace pact. In view of that, therefore, any one found outside this arrangement will be treated as common criminal”.
However, normalcy had since returned to the ancient city following the peaceful protest that lasted several hours.
NASS To Receive Tinubu’s 2024 Appropriation Bill, Today
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will today, present the 2024 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.
Secretary, Research and Information of the National Assembly, Dr Ali Barde Umoru, confirmed this on Monday to journalists while requesting the list of those to be allowed into the chamber during the budget presentation.
This will be the first budget estimate President Tinubu will present to the National Assembly in person.
He had earlier transmitted two supplementary budgets, 2022 and 2023, to the National Assembly, which the parliament speedily approved.
President Tinubu had, weeks ago, also forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly, the 20224-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) where the sum of N26.1 trillion was proposed as the total expenditure for the 2024 fiscal year.
The Senate, following the recommendation of its joint committee, which scrutinised the document, approved the MTEF/FSP.
It approved the N26.1trn proposed as the 2024 budget and other parameters as proposed by President Tinubu.
It approved the new borrowings of N7.8 trillion, pegged the benchmark of oil price for 2024 at $73.96, and oil production volume per day at 1.78 million barrels.
Other parameters approved are a GDP growth rate of 3.76%, an inflation rate of 21.40%, an exchange rate of N700 to $1 dollar, and a projected budget deficit of N9.04 trillion.
Muslim Clerics Offer Prayers For Tinubu, Kwankwaso In Kano
Over 1,000 Islamic clerics have offered special prayers for President Bola Tinubu and the NNPP national leader, Rabiu Kwankwaso, for peace, progress and political stability in Nigeria.
Abdulmumin Kofa (NNPP-Kiru/Bebeji) hosted the ulamas at Kiru for the success of Governor Kabir Yusuf of Kano State at the Supreme Court, according to a statement by the lawmaker’s media aide, Sani Paki, on Monday.
During the prayer session, the clerics recited the Qur’an 1,101 times and prayed for peace, progress and political stability in the country.
Mr Kofa said his relationship with the president was no secret, noting that Mr Kwankwaso is his mentor. He said he would continue to support and promote a harmonious relationship between Messrs Tinubu and Kwankwaso.
Mr Kofa described NNPP as a promising party open to collaboration, alliance and merger with the APC and even with the People’s Democratic Party, Labour Party or any other party that showed interest, so long as it is for the good of Nigerians.
He also promised to deploy his modest political network to reach out to gladiators in Kano politics towards resolving all resolvable issues and to de-escalate the current tension in the state due to the Kano governorship seat.
Also, after the prayer session, the legislator hosted 5,000 primary school kids across his constituency, as he often does, and provided them with school kits.
According to the statement, Mr Kofa assured the pupils of the good plans of the federal and state governments, especially on free education and free school feeding programmes.