The King of the Igbo Community in Ghana on Wednesday, disclosed that there are about 2 million Nigerians currently living in different Ghanaian cities and communities.
His Royal Majesty Eze Chukwudi Ihenetu, in an interview on Happy FM’s ‘Epa Hoa Daben’ show, said he is not aware of the number of Nigerians who have so far been registered as Nigerian nationals in Ghana.
“As we all know, Nigeria and Ghana are brothers. There has always been that spirit of brotherliness and long existing relations between Nigeria and Ghana. So far, there are over 2 million Nigerians living in Ghana but I don’t know how many have so far been registered in the Ghanaian books.”
The leader of the Nigerian Community in Ghana however expressed worry at the nature of reportage of crimes involving Nigerians which he says exhibits some form of xenophobia.
According to him, the recent harassment on Nigerians living in Ghana had “xenophobic tendencies” and could mar Ghana-Nigeria relations.
He therefore called on the media to be circumspect in their reportage.
However, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Micheal Olufemi Abikoye, in a statement references reports involving Nigerians and criminal activity; including the recent kidnapping of two Canadians in Kumasi.
The involvement of Nigerians in high profile crimes in recent times is viewed as causing some resentment for Nigerians in Ghana.
Nigerians began moving to Ghana after Ghana became the first independent country in the region in 1957. Also in the late ’70s, many Ghanaians moved to Nigeria as economic migrants. The relationship became sour for various reasons.
Thus, under former Ghanaian president Busia’s Aliens Compliance Order, Nigerians among other immigrants were forced to leave Ghana as they made up a significant percentage of Ghana’s large undocumented population. The official reason for deportation was failing to comply with the immigration laws of the country. In 1983, Nigeria retaliated and deported up to 1 million Ghanaian and other African immigrants when Ghana was facing severe drought and economic problems.
By: Joseph Nii Ankrah