Professor Yemi Osinbajo
…Urges them to remain patient, law-abiding
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has assured Nigerian traders in Ghana of justice in their running battle with the Ghanaian government.
Recall that Nigerian traders in Ghana had their shops locked for months, following their inability to pay the $1million requirement imposed by the government of that country.
However, Osinbajo, who met with representatives of the Nigerian community in Ghana on Tuesday in Accra, affirmed the commitment of the federal government to deal with the issues relating to the plight of the traders.
According to him, government would ensure that the maltreatment of Nigerians anywhere in the world, including Ghana, stops.
He said: “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.’’
He explained that the delay in resolving these issues might be due to bureaucratic bottlenecks which is generally a drag on government activities.
“I look forward to getting the details and making sure that we are able to begin to resolve some of these issues as quickly as possible.
‘’But I think you must also recognize that generally speaking, governments tend to be very slow, processes are slow, bureaucracies are slow, but we will make sure we do the very best we can to get you your rights, so that at least you are dealt with justly,’’ Osinbajo said.
Referring to efforts made in the past and even recently to resolve the crisis, the Vice President 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.”
“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.
“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. however. urged 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.
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