By Russell Adadevoh
Accra — Ghana has reopened hundreds of shops belonging to Nigerians after the stores were closed during conflict with local traders.
More than 400 shops run by the Nigerians had been shut following an impasse with the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).
It is alleged their closure was in line with authorities mulling some legislation compelling foreigners to have $1 million (R14,3 million) as minimum foreign investment capital to do business in Ghana.
Chukwuemeka Nnaji, President of Nigeria Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG), however confirmed shops belonging to fellow nationals had been reopened after discussions between the respective governments.
“Opening of the shops is ongoing,” Nnaji said.
“Shops that have not been opened are locked because owners were not present at their shops and GUTA executives want to open the shops with owners present,” he added.
The closure of the shops had threatened to spark a diplomatic tiff between the neighbouring countries.
Geoferry Onyeama, Nigeria Minister of Foreign Affairs, had summoned Ghana High Commissioner to Nigeria, Rashid Bawa, to express concern.
Coincidentally, several shops belonging to Nigerian nationals were recently looted and vandalised in South Africa where the foreign nationals have long been accused of dealing in drugs.
Relations between West African neighbours Ghana and Nigeria are often frosty.
Disputes date back to 1969 when Ghana expelled hundreds of Nigerians from its country.
In 1983, Nigeria retaliated by deporting over 2 million Ghanaians under similar allegations of stealing business from locals.
More than 50,000 Nigerians are believed to be living in Ghana while majority of them are into buying and selling business.