I’m Akanji Abdul Azeez, I’m used to traveling by road from Cote d’Ivoire to Nigeria. Before I get to Nigeria, I’ve to pass through Ghana’s borders. What I noticed anytime I travel through that route is the “hatred” in the face of Ghanihan Immigration officers towards immigrant Nigerians.
This hatred has been traced to 1969 during Kofi Abrefa Busia, the then Prime minister of Ghana. He demanded the expulsion of Nigerian migrants for reasons including economic concerns and xenophobia.
In retaliation, in the early months of 1983 Shehu Shagari, the Nigerian president at the time ordered the tragic expulsion of several citizens of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Many of them had entered Nigeria as economic migrants during the 1970s without official immigration documents.
In the case of Ghanaians, both skilled and unskilled migrants were pushed by the unbearable economic conditions in Ghana to seek refuge in Nigeria, which was widely known as West Africa’s economic utopia at the time.
The immigrants were given two weeks to leave Nigeria, lest they will be arrested and tried; leading to the exodus of over 2 million immigrants from neighboring countries. In the process of this displacement, Nigerian police physically harmed immigrants – beating and gassing them, in the hope that they would depart immediately. Many who departed Nigeria were, however, denied entry into other countries – such as the Benin Republic – which was also reluctant to deal with an influx of immigrants.
As a result, expelled immigrants were forced to camp in the middle of the borders of Nigeria and Benin. Uncertain as to whether they would reach a place they could once again call home. While some Ghanaians were lucky enough to depart Nigeria by air through assistance from the Ghanaian government, others were not fortunate enough to step on Ghanaian soil again as they drowned in severely crowded boats, traveling by sea.
Till today, when Ghanaian immigration officers see your passport written on it that you’re a Nigerian, they will trouble you before granting you access into their country. You will be asked to pay not less than 10 cedis Ghanaian currency.
Last year, a bulldozer invaded the Diplomatic Premises of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Accra, Ghana, and demolished buildings on the night of June 19, 2020. Likewise, Nigerian traders in Ghana have been getting higher tax in Ghana which is making them unbearable to trade freely.
For the sake of peace, the Nigerian government and the Ghana government need to have good diplomatic relations.
About the author:
Akanji Abdul Azeez is a Nigerian born and brought up in the soil of cote d’Ivoire. He’s an educationist, a political scientist, an advocate of humanitarian activities, a writer, and a public administrator.