Nigeria and Ghana are two brotherly nations with a long history of socioeconomic relationship. The famous Benin empire of yesteryears extended across West Africa to Ghana. As a result, many Ghanaians trace their ancestral roots to Benin in Nigeria. The two countries also have a common colonial heritage.
While under the British administration, both countries had a common monetary system and most of the colonial institutions for training of public servants, where Nigerians trained, were domiciled in Ghana. The inter marriage between citizens of both countries is equally very high. The age long socioeconomic and cultural relationships between both countries have over time deepened into large communities of settlers in each other’s country.
ECOWAS has also further cemented this relationship and hope is high that recent AfCFTA will expand it. Post independence, there have been occasional hiccups in the relationship between Nigeria and Ghana. Most of them stemming from political actions taken by both countries at various times to protect them from socioeconomic malaise involving foreigners.
The recent imbroglio between both countries has been linked to near invasion of Ghana by several Nigerians escaping from the socioeconomic failings at home and seeking greener pastures there. Be it in manufacturing, commerce, education and even criminality, Nigerians have swarmed in droves to Ghana thus choking the small nation.
While Nigerians have unrestricted entry and operations in Ghana, Ghanaians and other West Africans are screened off free entry into Nigeria due to border closure. This has stifled the economies of several West African countries and almost suffocating them to death. The Nigerian economy is also taking a big hit due to the ill advised measure.
In a recent radio chat, Kasimu Kurfi gave an insight into why the persistent border closure could elicit a backlash from neighbours. The current plight of Nigerian traders and brazen attack on Nigerian government properties in Ghana may be retaliation for the economic pains inflicted on them by the border closure.
Just as Nigerians are harassed in Ghana, Nigerian government officials also extort and maltreat foreigners. One cannot but agree wholeheartedly with Kasimu Kurfi that only a round table discussion between governments of both countries can resolve the contending issues. The grandstanding by Nigerian authorities serves no useful purpose. It is contrary to the long-term economic vision of Nigeria to make West Africa its economic hub.
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