Akufo-Addo Presents Cash To Stranded Ghanaian Drivers On Benin-Nigeria Border

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has presented CFA450,000 to Ghanaian drivers who are stranded at Seme-Krakue, a town on the Nigeria-Benin border.

The money is to help the drivers defray expenses they have incurred as a result of the border closure.

The drivers have not been able to cross the border since Nigeria shut its border with Benin on August 21, this year.

The situation has led to hundreds of vehicles, mostly articulated trucks, being locked at both ends of the border.

The money was delivered on behalf of the President by a Deputy Minister of Trade and industry, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, during a meeting with Ghanaian drivers at the border last Thursday. Also in attendance at the meeting was a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Charles Owiredu.

From the border, the two deputy ministers proceeded to Abuja to meet with Nigerian authorities to finalise arrangements for the opening of a safe corridor on the border for Ghanaian traders to transport their goods to and from Nigeria.

Collating information

The meeting with the drivers was held to allow the deputy ministers and members of their delegations, including officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA ) and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, to get information from the stranded drivers, companies they work for and items in their trucks.

Mr Owiredu said the closure of the border was unfortunate but commended the drivers for their fortitude in spite of the challenge.

He told them that the data collected from both drivers and traders would be forwarded to the Nigerian authorities for the necessary action to be taken.

He assured them that the government was working to have the problem resolved as quickly as possible.

Safe passage

For his part, Mr Ahenkorah said the government was doing all it could to ensure that the safe corridor promised by the Nigerian authorities for drivers and traders from Ghana would materialise.

He said the closure of the border was affecting Ghana’s projections on foreign exchange returns from non-traditional exports.

Mr Ahenkorah was, however, confident that an amicable solution would be found at the end of the meetings in Abuja.

The drivers recounted their difficulties but were hopeful that a solution would be found quickly to the problem.

Background

The trip by the deputy ministers is a follow up on an earlier one made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, and the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, to Abuja to find a solution to the problem.

While in Abuja, the Nigerian authorities explained to the two ministers that the border was closed to prevent the entry of contraband goods from Benin, including rice, and that Ghana was not the target.

They expressed regret at the impact that the border closure was having on Ghanaian businesses and promised to create a safe corridor for Ghanaian traders to send their goods to Nigeria.

The Nigerian authorities requested though that Ghana should furnish it with details of the companies, trucks and nature of goods that were being brought to their market.

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