An expert in diplomatic studies in the University of Port-Harcourt, Dr. Stanley I. Okoroafor, has advised both Nigeria and Ghana to maintain diplomatic ties and avoid what would strain diplomatic relations.
Dr. Okoroafor spoke in an interview on backdrop of the recent development where Nigerian traders in Ghana complained of unfair treatment by Ghanaian authorities.
It was reported that the authorities in Ghana had closed retail shops belonging to Nigerian traders for allegedly failing to register with Ghana Investment Promotion Council, which required the payment of one million US dollars.
The international relations expert said that Nigeria and Ghana were supposed to be two “leading brother nations” in West Africa and ought not to be involved in a situation which would threaten diplomatic ties.
He said the demand by Ghanaian authorities that Nigerian traders should pay one million dollars for registration with their investment promotion council was “alarming”.
The university don described the alleged unfair treatment of Nigerians as “appalling” recalling that the two countries were frontline fighters for independence during the colonial era.
He said that Ghanaians probably disliked Nigerian traders for being “smart” and making progress in their own country.
A building belonging to the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana was recently demolished and had prompted reaction from the Nigerian government.
Ghana had also closed retail shops owned by Nigerians.
Dr. Okoroafor, who is of Department of History and Diplomatic Studies, noted that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should bind the two countries together.
The international relations expert said: “The big authorities whether in Ghana or Nigeria should be interfacing to ensure that they don't have anything escalate to the point that there would be diplomatic severance or any challenge at that because we have a whole lot in common historically, we have a whole lot in common sociologically. Ghana looks up to Nigeria in some sense (and) Nigeria looks up to Chana in some sense (and) once we meet in the middle West Africa stands strong”.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had travelled to Ghana to meet his Ghanaian counterpart over the alleged unfair treatment of Nigerian traders and in the end it was said that the one million dollars deposit to have been paid by Nigerian traders in Ghana was reviewed with promises that the diplomatic ties between the two countries would be maintained.
The university don said that any kind of rivalry between the two countries should be seen in a diplomatic sense and should not create crisis.
Asked if this was not a case of xenophobia, the international relations expert said that it was not exactly so as it was not like the case in South Africa where there was killing and looting.
He however said that there should be good governance so that Nigerians would not have to leave for overseas.