President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Dr Joseph Obeng has shockingly revealed that majority of the goods locked up at the Nigerian border do not belong to Ghanaian traders as speculated.According to him, the goods stuck at the border were for Nigerian businesses who were importing goods from Ghanaian traders, hence, Nigerians are the most affected for the action taken by their government.
Explaining why GUTA complained about the issue in the heat of the moment, he averred that his members were caught unawares by the sudden closure of the border, leading to GUTA members who were in Nigeria to conduct business getting stranded in the West African country.
In a phone interview with GhanaWeb’s Ernestina Serwaa Asante, Dr Joseph Obeng said “the truth of the matter is, those goods do not belong to Ghanaians, those goods are goods that have actually been purchased from Ghana to Nigerians by Nigerians themselves. They are the victims, that’s why the goods have been there all this time”.
Speaking on the compensation these traders were to receive from the government of Ghana, Dr Obeng intimated that government is merely mitigating the financial burden of GUTA members who had some of their items stolen during their stay at the border. They are also being compensated for the several weeks spent at the border in the attempt to cross the border.
According to Dr Obeng, the government of Ghana is not reimbursing or compensating any GUTA member for the goods they were to deliver to their Nigerians clienteles.
He professed that the Nigerian government would soon open its borders after citizens begin to have a feel of the ripple effect on them.
“They will open the border not under the pressure of the West African countries, but they will open it under the pressure of their own citizens who are suffering from the fatal effect of the closure,” he said.
Ghanaian traders have spotted new trading hubs in other countries and are no longer trading in Nigeria, he said.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian government in August last year closed its borders to Benin and by extension, other West African countries, as part of measures to prevent the smuggling of cheap goods and weapons into the country.
The blockade had a ripple effect on trade in the West African sub-region; compelling some to use alternative routes for their exports.