, 16 October, 2019 / 5:53 PM
The Catholic Community of Nigerians living in Ghana has encouraged terms of trade that are mutually beneficial to the citizens of the two neighboring West African nations and acknowledged efforts made by the diplomatic service in ensuring that all disputes relating to business are speedily resolved amid legal controversies.
Nigerians and Ghanaians have been confused whether to apply local laws, which forbid foreign participation in retail trade or an ECOWAS treaty that allows citizens of member states to move freely and establish economically in other member states.
The laws in Ghana do not allow foreigners to engage in businesses targeting a multitude of the low-income population such as hawking, taxi services, operation of beauty salons and barbering shops, among others.
For months now, tension has been growing between Nigerian and Ghanaian traders with the Ghanaian traders calling on their government to enforce the trade laws that prohibit foreigners from engaging in the retail business.
Speaking to 300 Nigerian Catholics during St. Francis of Assisi Feast Day celebration at the Holy Family Parish in Accra Saturday, October 12, the President for Nigerian’s community of St. Francis of Assisi Society, George Olajide appreciated the efforts of the Nigerian High Commissioner in Ghana, Femi Abikoye, for effectively working with the government of Ghana towards a diplomatic resolution of the trade impasse within ECOWAS protocol.
Olajide thanked the diplomat for stepping in to calm tensions whenever the trade dispute arises and entreated Nigerian Catholics living in Ghana to have respect for the laws of Ghana while going about engaging in legitimate businesses.
Recalling the past successive years, Olajide told ACI Africa correspondent in Ghana, “Over the years, the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria has been very cordial and this is God’s design.”
He added, “Geographically, our two countries are surrounded by French Speaking countries and bond of unity keeps waxing stronger and stronger as citizens of the two countries freely move and interact with each other, to the glory of God we inter marry.”
Olajide encouraged the members of Catholic Community of Nigerians to espouse the values of their patron saint Francis saying, “To those of us here (in Ghana) let us fully embrace the teachings of our Patron Saint – simplicity, humility, love, respect for others and care for nature as well as respect for constituted authority backed by law.”
The Saturday meeting was convened under the theme, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is brethren dwell together in unity (Psalms 133:1).”
Ghanaian Fr. Peter Rocky Hesse, who is the Chaplain of the Nigerian Catholic Community in the Accra Archdiocese, called on members to become agents of change by using their “guns of resolutions which is love.”
“It is an undeniable fact that we have different affiliations, tribes and even personality types and all of those are exhibited when we meet in the midst of all that we are to promote one thing and that is unity,” said Fr. Hesse.
“Live in Unity for the favors and blessings of God and do not distort the peace and unity of your association,'' he advised the Nigerians and asked them “to put themselves into a disposition of fighting against all odds and evils in society including avarice, egoistic tendencies, and self-centeredness.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa