How would you assess the condition of the Nigerian Union of Traders Associations, Ghana, and Nigerian traders in Ghana, genarally?
Every identified Nigerian trader in Ghana is living in fear. Because of the numerous attacks being perpetuated against us by some Ghanaian traders who claim to have a law that gives them power to attack Nigerian traders. This fear is on the increase since the Ghanaian government has decided not to intervene on Ghana Union of Traders Associations’ lawlessness.
What is the situation of Nigerian shops in Accra and Kumasi that were locked up in 2019 by the GUTA?
All the Nigerian traders’ shops closed by GUTA are still under lock and key.
Not many Nigerian traders in Ghana want to belong to NUTAG; why is that so? And why is there apathy from Nigerian traders to your association?
I don’t know why any Nigerian trader in Ghana would choose not to be a member of our union because our doors are open for every Nigeria trader and institution. However, I know that so many Nigerians have become Ghanaian. As such, they may not have a need. But if anyone chooses to be our member, they are welcome.
I have not noticed any kind of apathy as you mentioned, because as, President of the Nigeria Union of Traders Associations in Ghana, I receive lots of accolades from all Nigerians.
What is NUTAG’s relationship with the GUTA and Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry?
We have no relationship with the above mentioned institutions. And that is not of our making. So many efforts have been made to have a kind of relationship with, especially, our counterpart, the trade union, but it’s always fruitless because they think such relationship will jeopardize their demands.
What do you think of the suggestion that Nigerian traders should be given land in Ghana to build their own market?
The problem of Nigerian traders in Ghana is not shortage of space, but it’s an act of reducing Nigerians’ operation in Ghana. So, having Nigeria traders’ market will not stop the problem. The market is still in Ghana and the same control applies.
Nigerian traders in Ghana are no longer required to have a minimum capital of US$1m before they are allowed to trade in Ghana. And, consequent upon Ghana becoming headquarters of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the Ghana Investments Promotion Council laws are in the process of being revised. Are you hopeful the revision would provide a lasting solution to the incessant Nigerian-Ghanaian traders’ feud in Ghana?
Requirements for Nigerian traders (in Ghana) should not include US$1 million if the Ghanaian government is ready to honour or abide with the treaty they signed. Before the AfCFTA, the ECOWAS Protocol had given Nigerians such right when it stated in (A/SP2/5/90 Chapter 1,Article 1 that there should be right of establishment. Meaning that the right is granted to a citizen who is a national of the member-state to settle or establish in another member-state other than his state of origin; and to have access to economic activities, to carry out these activities as well as to set up and manage enterprises; and, in particular, companies under the same conditions as defined by the legislation of the host member-state for its own nationals). So as such, the law shouldn’t be the problem of Nigerian traders in Ghana.
How do you think the new AfCFTA will impact trading, specifically, in West Africa, and across Africa?
The problem with Africa has been compliance with policies, not the policy itself. For me, it’s a very good policy. But it will only have impact when there’s full compliance. And I know that not all the countries are ready now. However, it will bring prosperity to big players, and small ones will suffer.
South Africa’s retail chain, Shoprite, is in Ghana as well as in many other African countries, including Nigeria. Is NUTAG casting its mind to an option similar to Shoprite that will benefit both its members and Ghana as well as bring a definitive end to the rivalry with GUTA?
The reason many people succeed in business is because of their peculiar way of doing business. If Shoprite is owned by Nigerians, they will be in trouble in Ghana. Ask other businesses from Nigeria if they are being stigmatized.
Who is Chief Chukwuemeka Levi Nnaji?
Chief Chukwuemeka Levi Nnaji is the president of the Nigerian Union of Traders Associations in Ghana and Chief Kizito Ikechukwu Obiora is the vice president of Nigeria Union of Traders in Ghana. Chief Obiora is also chairman of Ashanti Region of (NUTAG).
What are your major achievements and challenges in office?
We have introduced our union to all Nigerians in Ghana, built a great relationship with the Nigerian government through her representative in Ghana. For all years now, we have been the mouthpiece of Nigerian traders in Ghana, the best Nigerian association in Ghana for four consecutive years by assessment of His Excellency, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, just to mention but few. My challenges have been inability of Nigerians to learn and grow their lives.
What legacy do you intend to leave at NUTAG?
Strong, bold, fearless and united Nigerian businessmen and women. Highly moral and law-abiding citizens of our great nation, Nigeria.
Do you have any last words?
Thank God for His mercies and His protection. I also thank the President of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, and Ghanaian President, His Excellency, Nana Akufo Addo, for their efforts to resolve the rivalry between the traders. It is getting out of hand. GUTA is planning nationwide closure, and NUTAG is getting ready for response. However, all our members should remain calm and law-abiding. NUTAG’s leadership is working hard to get expected results. All for one.
Long live NUTAG!
Long live Republic of Ghana!
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria!