Even though Nigeria has given temporary concession to open her land borders to Ghanaian products, traders in Ghana have accused Nigeria of breaching protocols of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS).
The agreement between Nigeria and Ghana was signed last week after Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Botchwey, and her counterpart in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, held talks with their Nigerian counterparts on the border closure in Abuja.
The concession is on the creation of a temporary corridor on Nigeria’s western border with?Benin Republic where Ghanaian goods in transit can pass to avoid collateral damage arising from the closure of Nigeria’s borders with Benin Republic.
Nigeria partially closed its land borders in August 2019 to curb the spate of smuggling and other trans-border crimes, which Nigeria said was threatening its attempt to boost local production.
Under the agreement, Ghanaian authorities are expected to provide further information on Ghanaian companies that do business in Nigeria, the goods and companies affected and those affected by the closure of the borders
But, in an immediate reaction to the concession, the President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, whose association had a representative on the Ghanaian delegation expressed surprise that Nigeria closed her border in violation of ECOWAS protocol.
He said it was worrying that although ECOWAS protocols existed and required countries to open their borders to member countries, Nigeria failed to do so.
“These people (Nigeria) are abusing the ECOWAS Protocol and must be told in the face to open that corridor for people to send their goods. What Nigeria is doing presupposes that they do not have any regard for ECOWAS protocols”.
And in subtle appal to his country to retaliate, he said, “We need our government to also put its feet on the ground and protect local businesses, using the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act.
He said the major concern of Ghanaian traders was for the border to be opened, so that goods that had been stranded could be brought into Nigeria.
Shipping Position Daily also confirmed last weekend that, the heads of Customs of both Ghana and Nigeria are expected to operationalise decisions by jointly working out modalities for the creation of a safe corridor for Ghanaian products to come into Nigeria.