The Dean of Academic Affairs at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC), Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso has cautioned the media and diplomats in both Ghana and Nigeria to be circumspect in their utterances to avoid escalating the current retail trade bruhaha between both countries.
Ghana and Nigeria have been trading words over closure of Nigerian-owned shops in Ghana.
Ghanaian traders are resisting foreigners who intend to join them in the retail trade as it is a preserve for only Ghanaians as spelt out in the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) laws of Ghana.
This has led to the incessant closure of foreign-owned shops in the retail business in the country.
Nigerian retail traders unhappy about the situation appealed to their government to intervene forcing Africa’s most populous country to issue a statement saying it will not tolerate the harassment of its citizens living in Ghana.
Ghana’s Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in a statement denied and described as untrue all the allegations levelled against Ghanaian authorities by the Nigerian government.
Reacting to this development on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Tuesday, 1 September 2020, Dr Antwi-Danso while calling for diplomacy as the best way to resolve the problem called on the media to set the agenda for peace between both countries.
Dr Antwi-Danso told sit-in host Abdul Karim that: “In international relations, there is something called misrepresentation and especially let me warn the media about it. A lot of the wars in the world has been caused by the media's misrepresentation of the fact of the issues... the media must lead and set the agenda and if they set the wrong agenda we will be very wrong.”
He continued: “The second point is the diplomats and the elites in both countries. They must know how they talk and I’m alluding to our minister and the other minsters and parliamentarians in Nigeria have spoken before about the building that was pulled down. If these kinds of elite group do not represent things well where a foreign policy becomes skewed [we are in trouble].”
In Dr Atwi-Danso’s opinion, “the issues have not been represented properly both on the pulling down of the building and on the current situation. The GIPC law is for everybody not Nigeria only...when the team [Ghana’s taskforce on retail trade] went round Kumasi, there were some Nigerians who had gone through the mill and were doing their jobs. Some Guineans and Malians shops were also locked but the media paid only attention to Nigeria shops...”
He advised Nigerian authorities that: “When a law affects you, don’t fight the law...protocol on goods and service does not mean you can carry your goods, come to Lagos square and start selling, no, so that must be represented properly. So, if these laws are inimical to the interest of your nationals, what you do is jaw-jaw or even ask for exemption.”