Retired Military man calls for diplomacy, Education in Suame Magazine tensions

A retired Military man; Col. Rtd. Festus Aboagye has expressed concern about the ongoing tensions between Ghanaian traders and their Nigerian counterparts at the Suame Magazine in Kumasi.

He says what is currently going on is not healthy for the cordial Ghana-Nigeria relationship that has existed for so long. He therefore calls for diplomatic intervention to help deal with the issues arising.

In an interview with the media he stressed the need to first de-escalate as a means of reducing the tension, and then tackling the issues “through diplomacy, from the highest level to the tactical level”. He says the issues have to be desegregated and addressed one after the other.

He says both the Ghanaian and Nigerian Traders seem not to have full understanding of the laws and hence need to be educated on the laws governing their activities.

Col. Rtd Festus Aboagye further advised both Ghanaians and Nigerians to leave sentiments behind and allow the laws and institutions to work and hence help resolve the issue at hand.

It took the intervention of armed police officers to maintain order at Suame Magazine as some rampaging retailers insisted on evicting all Nigerians who are still engaging in retail trade in the area.

The mob went around to forcefully order the closure of the shops operated by Nigerian traders.

The mob also allegedly ransacked two shops belonging to Nigerians and destroyed some items in the process.

A number of Nigerian traders left Suame Magazine on Tuesday after over 50 of their shops were closed down for engaging in retail trade contrary to Ghanaian laws.

The Nigerians had returned to business following assurances by the Ashanti Regional Police Command after it held meetings with their leadership on Tuesday.

Although executives of the Nigerian traders had directed their people to return to their business sites, majority of the shops remained closed.

The rampaging locals burnt lorry tyres and tied red bands as they moved violently to stop the Nigerians from opening their shops.

Meanwhile the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) has cautioned government against protecting Nigerians and other foreigners against the interest of Ghanaians in the country.

GUTA indicated that if the Ghanaian authorities continue to harass its members who are fighting against the foreign invasion of the retail market, the union will fight back to ensure that the right things are done.

In a Press Statement, GUTA said it will neither “succumb nor kowtow to pressure and intimidation from the government of Ghana on the matter”.

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