NIGERIA & GHANA; A History of Brotherhood or Xenophobia?

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This blog is in light of the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in Ghana, this blog goes into deep details to analyze the relationship between the two countries and to give the younger generation knowledge on the situation. This blog is in no way meant to foster hate or anger, I sincerely hope this post is here to create understanding.

The history between Nigeria and Ghana goes back centuries and should we agree with some sources, this shared history between these two focal points of Africa goes even further and deeper. It is a well known fact that the GA-Adangbe people of Accra, in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana came from the Yorubas, who are one of the three prominent tribes in Nigeria. If we are to believe the story of Oduduwa the first King of the Yoruba land, which states that one of his sons and their families settled in Ghana, this can only mean the relationship and interaction between those from Nigerian and Ghana has gone on for over 1000 years.

Nigeria and Ghana never really had any issues until 1969 during the Regime of

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Abbrefa Kofi Busia

Abbrefa Kofi Busia and his Alien Compliance Order (ACO) Which was a law, passed and implemented by the Ghanaian government, the ACO law in today’s standards will be considered a serious crime. But this law was passed and many Ghanaian’s used it to annex properties and wealth from the hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that lived in Ghana. This law was made for foreigners but Nigerians mainly were targeted, while other foreign nationals like the Lebanese, Chinese and Europeans were left intact. There was no care for those who had intermarried or those who served the Ghanaian system with diligence all their lives, there was no understanding for those who families had been in Ghana for 3 or more generation, every Nigerian was forcefully and illegally evicted and their properties annexed.

This was also the first recorded mass Xenophobic attack in African history, in the chaos Nigerians died, lost everything and were raped. Before this incident Nigerians in Ghana mainly Yoruba and Ibo business people prospered in Ghana without issues.

I feel that the Alien Compliance Order was simply a ploy by the corrupt people in power to use the chaos in enriching themselves because after the chaos, those who really profited from the annexing of the properties and wealth of the Nigerians were, the then Ghanaian leadership and people in power. This misguided act on the part of Ghanaians lead to a response from Nigeria in 1983 under the

President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari
Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari

presidency of Shehu Shagari which the world has come to know as the “GHANA MUST GO” Incident. The Ghanaian Alien Compliance Order saw around 300,000 Nigerians sent back to Nigeria devoid of everything they have worked for, this was the first act but when Nigeria retaliated, 2,000,000 Ghanaians lost their homes, families and livelihood.

The Ghana ACO xenophobic actions acted without putting into consideration that their were more Ghanaians in Nigeria than there were Nigerians in Ghana, the act was brutal and unjust but so was the reaction just as brutal and unjust if not more. Many died, many lost everything, many were raped and molested.

There is a saying that where ever two people fight each other, two people are at fault, the issue between Ghana and Nigeria when analyzed is a squabble amongst siblings, this is the most common conflict in this world, but it is time that the squabble that has grown into a huge mental bias and misconception on both sides be dissolved.

I hear a lot of Ghanaians talk about the Ghana Must Go incident without the knowledge that Ghana was the first country to do that same thing to Nigeria, regardless of the scale of Nigeria’s reactions, I think many Ghanaians will change their tone about this incident when they realize that Ghana sent Nigerians home first, many also lost their lives and wealth in the incident and this was for all means and purposes, unprovoked! The ACO policy by Ex-President Busia was simply a poorly conceived political ploy, If he saw the decades of division and bad blood this would create, I doubt this kind of policy would have been implemented.

But this is 2019, Many years from 1969 and 1983, The two presidents who lead the countries by then are long since dead, so why have the culture of mistrust and victimization continued? I think it is time for Ghanaians and Nigerians to come together in brotherhood. These are my reason why Ghana and Nigeria must forget this animosity and become one people:

  • I personally believe that Nigeria and Ghana are the two most inter-married countries in Africa.
  • Nigeria is and has always been Ghana’s closest ally in history, militarily and economically. 
  • Nigeria and Ghana being both English speaking countries and in the region they are, they have no choice than to be strong allies or the two are weakened in conflict.
  • Dysfunctional families breed a dysfunctional society, many are intermarried amongst Ghana and Nigeria, we must be more like brothers so that the offspring of the union between a Nigerian and a Ghanaian isn’t treated like an outcast, eventually becoming a problem to both of the societies. Nothing good comes from a child who is turned towards evil due to the abuse of being an outcast. There are many half Nigerian and Ghana children, so we must be careful as a people our decisions, for those innocents will be the ones to suffer more than others.
  • This is an age of technological development, many Nigerian and Ghanaian youths are doing great things, if we promote a value of trust amongst the two societies these young intellectuals, working together, will bring unprecedented development to the two societies.
  • My personal opinion; I have lived all my life as a Nigerian amongst the Ghanaian society, I have seen the noblest hearts of Ghana and I know the noblest hearts of Nigeria, I have seen the degenerates of the two nations as well. I know in my heart that if the media and society can promote love and brotherhood between Nigerians and Ghanaians no matter where we are, we can conquer, together.
  • We must remember that in the eyes of the Arabs, Europeans and Asians that we value so much more than each other, all they see when they look at us together are black men they can exploit, where we come from matters not to them when they are racist to us in their countries. To the world we are just black men, not Ghanaians, not Nigerians, Just black people.

The relationship between Nigeria and Ghana has been a rocky one, but no one alive in both countries can say we have not profited immensely off each other. It is time for the old to stop whispering evil into the ears of the young because of bitterness, it is time for this generation to decide their fate, we can either forget a past that we were not a part of  (i.e the younger generations) and work together to create the greatest future for each other or we can sink separately into the abyss of bias, slave mentality and failures. The choice remains ours…

5 comments

  1. This is a profound blog-post!

    The historical narratives are true and disturbing. However, we need to know these things to guide our steps into the future.

    I think, it will also be a good idea if we took a look at the issue of what currently prevails in criminology space. Are more Ghanaians into violent crimes in Nigeria than are Nigerians in violent crimes in Ghana? Although the write-up is conciliatory and for which I appreciate the author, yet, sometimes the solution to a problem is identification of the overarching cause and dealing with it. If any of the citizens misconduct themselves in the country of the other, the laws must step in, without fear or favour, but devoid of Xenophobia, to deal with them. Let us also speak to our brothers to desist from what divides families.

    Again, I maintain that this is a profound post and I am going to direct traffic to the site.

    Long live Ghana; Long live Nigeria! We are siblings forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The answer to the question of whether more Ghanaians are into violent crimes in Nigeria than are Nigerians in violent crimes in Ghana? Is one that truly can never be figured out. We can only speculate but knowing human beings, everyone will speculate in favor of their own mental biases.
      Nigerians in Ghana have said this over and over again, if anyone is caught and found to be guilty by law, let them face the consequences of their actions, I have been a part of many Nigerian organizations and I can tell you that no one is lobbying for a criminal return from jail.

      In every country we have bad eggs and comparing Nigeria to Ghana in crime rate is somewhat unreasonable, the Nigerian territory is larger than Ghana, the Nigerian population is larger than that of Ghana, so to compare the two is somewhat reasonable. 25 million compared to 300 million? As I said, very unfair.

      But If there should be a comparison we can try comparing the amount of people committing crimes in Ghana in respect to the percentage of those having business and trying to make a living for themselves. Considering how many Nigerians are in Ghana, by assumption alone, you will understand that the Nigerians that actually commit crimes in Ghana are less than 1% of the total Nigerian population. If this is the case it doesnt make sense to torment and harass the peace of 90% based on the actions of less than 1%. Nigerians are generally louder than Ghanaians but even with this, I do not believe that a persons loudness should be seen as a sign of criminality. There are a lot of false information on blogs and I saw this one, when 3 separate crimes were said to have been committed by Nigerians on a certain blog, this lead to speculations but in the end none of the crimes even concerned Nigerians. It is also interesting that before the Nigerian man who used to Kidnap people in Nigeria was caught and exposed to have his base of operation in Ghana, Nigerians were not known as kidnappers in Ghana. There are only 2 confirmed cases of kidnap involving Nigerians who were working with Ghanaians. How come that the entire Nigerians in Ghana as a whole are now kidnappers because someone from Nigeria was involved in just 2 cases?

      The way this kidnap issue has been pounded into our heads, you will believe that people are being kidnapped by Nigerians everyday. Im not saying Nigerians are saints but at the same time Nigerians arent devils whose only passion is crime. The media has really destroyed the image of Nigerians in Ghana and this has made the easily impressionable begin to act out against Nigerians irrespective of who they are, as long as they are under the umbrella of Nigeria.

      Its as I said, the crimes Nigerians are said to commit are also committed by Ghanaians, in the same way we must agree that the both parties are capable of tremendous good. Time has come to do away with the sentiments of “I am better than you” and learn from each other so as to not only enhance the lives of Ghanaians or Nigerians but to enhance the lives of Many Africans who will remain in darkness, until the black stars of Ghana and the sleeping giants of Nigeria awakens and embrace their destinies to lead Africa out of the darkness of colonial impediment.

      Like

  2. Anago man, re-echoing the words of Albright A. Banibensu, this is a profound write up. His question of a crime rate is only a rhetorical one which should be left to the discerning reader. To go into the attempt of answering such questions only leaves you at one side of the river. If your true purpose of this blog is to promote peace, then stop throwing your weight behind a party. No one loves what history has taught us. I believe calculated attempts should be made to find lasting solutions to events as they unfold. I believe the High Commissioners in both countries are good points of reference at both sides.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment and I assure you that my intention isnt to demonize one party but to show the two that great evil can come when we react to each other without understand and bias. Once again thanks for commenting.

      Like

  3. My name is Alhaji Ismail lawan, I still stand by my comment only will attack Nigerians in Ghana. I am a Ghanaian, if Nigeria have done something wrong let’s the deal with him. Don’t generalized it to them all.

    Liked by 1 person

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