Nigeria: Buhari Meets Ghana's President At Aso Rock

21 September 2020

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday night held a closed-door meeting with President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana at the State House, Abuja.

No official statement was issued on the outcome of the meeting. But Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, posted the pictures of the meeting this morning on his Facebook page.

Last week Tuesday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was in Accra, Ghana to attend an Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the situation in Mali on behalf of President Buhari.

The Vice President, who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb Zubairu Dada, used the opportunity of the summit to meet with representatives of the Nigerian community in Ghana to discuss issues bothering on their wellbeing in the West African country while in Accra.

Osinbajo had said the Federal Government would ensure that affected persons get justice despite the seeming delay in resolving the concerns of Nigerian traders regarding some stiff business regulation imposed by Ghanaian authorities.

He told those who attended the meeting which held at the official residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana on the challenges facing Nigerians, including the locking of hundreds of Nigerian owned shops that President Buhari would be disturbed that the issues had not been addressed despite assurances from the authorities in the neighbouring country.

The Vice President, while reacting to the issues raised by leaders of the Nigerian community at the meeting, especially the maltreatment of Nigerians by Ghanaian authorities, voiced the commitment of the Federal Government to deal with the issues.

According to him, "I will certainly convey the depth of your grievances to the President. 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.

Osinbajo said the delay in resolving the issues might be due to bureaucratic bottlenecks that remained a drag on government activities.

The Vice President, while referring to efforts made in the past and the recent ones to resolve the crisis, said: "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 be done."

In his words, "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."

Prof. Osinbajo added: "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 implored 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.

Osinbajo, who urged Nigerians living in Ghana to remain law abiding and embrace peaceful coexistence, added that both governments would resolve the differences.

The Vice President, according to a statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, was also taken round the damaged embassy building reportedly attacked by local protesters.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana was attacked on 19 June 2020 when a bulldozer in the night demolished an ongoing building project said to be 80% completed.

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.

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