Nigeria, Ghana move to resolve trade dispute

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that efforts are ongoing to resolve the dispute between Nigerian traders and the Ghanaian Government.

A statement by the Speaker’s Spokesman, Lanre Lasisi, on Wednesday, said Mr Gbajabiamila led a delegation of lawmakers from the House of Representatives on a two-day legislative diplomatic mission to Ghana and met with the Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye.

Mr Gbajabiamila, according to the statement, was accompanied by the Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Buba Yusuf; Chairman House Committee on Media, Benjamin Kalu; House Member of Ecowas Parliament, Bayo Balogun, Ikenna Elezieanya, Ephraim Nwuzi, and Balarabe Shehu.

Members of the Nigerian delegation who were received by Oquaye expressed confidence for an amicable resolution of the issues being raised.

Mr Gbajabiamila said, “There’s something in modern-day parlance called legislative diplomacy or parliamentary diplomacy, and that’s what obtains all over the world today. Diplomacy is done from all angles, including backchannel such as what we are doing now and sometimes you get results that you can only imagine. So, I look forward to a fruitful discussion as we move forward.

“In Africa, you cannot talk about Nigeria without talking about Ghana and you cannot talk about Ghana without talking about Nigeria and, therefore, it has become incumbent on us; one as leaders of parliament and two, generally 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,” Mr Gbajabiamila added.

The Ghanaian Speaker, while thanking Mr Gbajabiamila for honouring his call, believes because of the strong relationship between both countries, there are tendencies for issues like this to come up, but what matters is the methods adopted to resolve the issues.

“Ghana and Nigeria are like the tongue and the teeth, they must interact, and sometimes the teeth may do havoc, and yet it never regrets the taste that the tongue gives to it. That’s what happens if we don’t interact.

“Even when we step on one another’s feet, in the process we should come to realise that there’s a need to continue to be together and we, therefore, welcome you. Thank you very much for your keenness in responding to my call that we should meet and you took a quick step in arranging to be here today.”

“I trust in the next two days, we will bring a beautiful reunion to our two nations,” he maintained.

The statement added that after the first-day visit, Mr Gbajabiamila, and his delegation went to the Nigerian High Commission where they met with leaders of the Nigerian Union of Traders and Selected Stakeholders to hear from the traders about their experiences.

The leader of the Nigerian traders in Ghana, Chukwuemeka Nnaji, informed Mr Gbajabiamila that they have been subjected to a lot of hardship by the Ghanaian authorities since 2007.

He appealed to the Speaker to follow up on the legislative diplomatic initiative in order to ensure that the resolutions arrived at were implemented by the Ghanaian authorities.

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