Ghana, a country in the west coast of Africa is no stranger to xenophobia particularly against Nigerians unlike what some people thaught. In the 70s the then bussia government promulgated the Aliens compliance Act, which expelled mostly Nigerians on the pretext that Nigerians dominated their retail business and even cocoa farms. Many, mostly Yoruba traders and farmers were expelled with many coming back to Nigeria and some to cotedivoire. Nigeria responded subsequently during the shagari regime and the rest were history. In Ghana today hatred of Nigerian nationals abound not on the basis that Nigerians are involved in crimes as some people may be persuaded to believe, but that Nigerians seem to be getting upper hand in development, recognition clout music and the arts and even investment in their home country thereby pushing ghanaians aside that is why their press often love to hype their country and talk down on nigeria These are the reasons for the resurgence of xenophobia pushed by a press that is inherently anti Nigeria. What is however surprising is the lame duck attitude of our government in protecting it’s citizens in that country. What is happening to Nigeria? All the institutions that were suppose to respond have become weak and incoherent particularly the sleeping foreign affairs minister. Who vowed to respond appropriately but cowed back. This could not have happened under Prof. Bolaji Akinyemis time as foreign affairs minister or Prof Akinterinwa of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. In international affairs a country like Nigeria should not be toyed with especially in Africa wherever it’s interest is jeopardized. The recent visit by the speaker of the house of Representatives was needless if the ministry of foreign affairs was alive to it’s responsibilities. The speaker was again incoherent. He initially vowed adequate response but on his visit to Ghana he was quoted as saying he now understood the reasons for the law( ghanaweb Sept 24) and went ahead to start pleading for the opening of Nigerian shops. However we were told by his spokesman a different thing when he came back to Nigeria. Shame!!!. Now what did he go to do in Ghana in the first place? Such a high ranking state official? Why was he not advised appropriately by the ministry of foreign affairs? The press release by the minister of information outlining Ghana sins on Nigeria was equally not helpful. It should have been accompanied by appropriate policy response which the federal government can announce immediately and there are many alternatives. Such tough response could be in form of reciprocal actions on ghanaians in Nigeria who own private schools and businesses, discouragement of prospective Nigerian students in Ghana by the NUC, bearing in mind that Nigerian students spends 700 million dollars annually in Ghana universities, reduction in gas supplies etc. It is on record that Ghana has always thaught of itself as a rival to nigeria and that is why their press is awashed on negative news on nigeria. But will Nigeria a timid giant ever respond?
By Professor A. F Fatusin
Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Ondo State