The consul general of Ghana in Lagos, Maxwell Awiaya, on Wednesday, February 28, disclosed that there are about 500,000 Ghanaians currently living in different Nigerian cities and communities.
Vanguard reports that Awiaya also said that only about 20,000 out of the number had so far been registered as Ghanaian nationals in Nigeria.
He said: “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. Our records currently show that we have an estimation of about 500,000 Ghanaians living in different parts of Nigeria. “According to our records, we have barely about 20,000 Ghanaians that are registered as our nationals in Nigeria. And this is not encouraging at all.
“We are, therefore, going to increase our efforts at making more of our nationals in Nigeria come to us or we go to them for registration.’’ The Ghanaian consul general said his consulate had started visiting churches in Lagos, Ibadan and Imo state, to seek Ghanaians in those communities for registration.
He said identification cards were also currently being issued to every registered national immediately after their registration. Awiaya said with their registration, it would become easier for them to relate with the consulate, as well as their home government.
He, therefore, enjoined all Ghanaians in Nigeria to come out in large numbers and take advantage of the ongoing nationality registration for them in Nigeria. He said: "We want our nationals in Nigeria to know that we are currently visiting churches with our consular forms, to enable them to be registered as Ghanaians in Nigeria.
“We want them to join us on Sunday, March 11, at the Four Square Church, Yaba, Lagos for the celebration of our country’s 61st Independence anniversary. “We really want to use the celebration of the country’s Independence anniversary in Lagos to register many of our nationals.’’
Officially known as the Republic of Ghana, Ghana is a unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean, in the sub-region of West Africa. The country spans a land mass of 238,535 km² and is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.
Both Nigeria and Ghana were colonised by Great Britain and both have the English language as their Official language and are members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). An earlier report by NAIJ.com gives details of how Nigeria’s former president Shehu Shagari expelled one million Ghanaians from Nigerian soil.
Popularly referred to as ‘Ghana must go’, in 1983, the Nigerian government ordered more than a million Ghanaian migrants to leave the country within just a few weeks. It was late January 1983 when Shagari suddenly announced that all foreigners without the right paperwork had just weeks to leave the country. Almost all of them were West African while the majority were from Ghana.