From Victor Oluwasegun and Tony Akowe Abuja
Nigeria and Ghana are on the part of a smooth relationship again as speakers met on Wednesday in Accra on the frosty relationship between the two countries.
Speaker of House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila said after meeting Ghanaian’s Speaker Mike Oquaye that he was optimistic of a mutually acceptable resolution of the rift.
Gbajabiamila also met with the leadership of Nigerian traders in Ghana who narrated their ordeal in the hands of Ghanaian government officials.
Ghajabiamila is on a two-day trip with the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Buba Yusuf; Chairman, Committee on Media, Benjamin Kalu; member of ECOWAS Parliament, Bayo Balogun; Ikenna Elezieanya, Ephraim Nwuzi and Balarabe Shehu.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the Speaker, the Ghanaian speaker said: “I trust in the next two days we will bring a beautiful reunion to our two nations.”
Gbajabiamila thanked his counterpart for the warm welcome. He also expressed optimism that within the next two days of discussions, an end to the dispute would be found.
He was quoted to have said: “Nigeria and Ghana are more like Siamese twins. Brothers will always have squabbles, healthy ones; national interest on both sides will always come to play but it’s not the misunderstanding that matters, it’s how you resolve it that counts.
“In Africa, you cannot talk about Nigeria without talking about Ghana and you cannot talk about Ghana without talking about Nigeria. It has therefore become incumbent on us as parliamentarians to bring to bear this concept of legislative diplomacy for fruitful results.
“The weight and burden of our international relationship rest actually on parliamentary shoulders and it is my hope that we will, in two days, reach some resolutions that will settle both countries.”
The Speaker and his delegation thereafter made their way to the Nigerian High Commission where they met with leaders of the Nigerian Union of Traders and selected stakeholders.
According to the statement, the leader of the Nigerian traders, Chief Chukwuemeka Nnaji, informed the delegation that they had since 2007 been subjected to a lot of hardship by the Ghanaian authorities.
Nnaji told the team that despite complying with laid down laws by Ghana, they were always the target of harsh treatments.
He added that even when their trades are registered with appropriate agencies and their their taxes paid as and when due, the Ghanaian authorities still ill-treated them.
Nnaji claimed that the offices and shops of some of them that paid the latest $1m trade registration fees imposed by the Ghahaian authorites, are still under lock and key.
He added that some Nigerian operators of about 250 shops locked up by the authorities had passed on as a result of losses and hardship.