Don’t allow GUTA, NUTAG “trade war” to escalate

The signs were on the wall. The simmering tension between the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and their Nigerian counterparts, Nigerian Union of Traders Association (NUTAG) was escalating and warned of an imminent clash between the two parties.

So, indeed yesterday, the inevitable happened. The two unions clashed in a bloody confrontation at the popular Tip Toe Lane in Accra, when members of GUTA attempted to close down shops of their Nigerian counterparts who they accused of illegal retail trading in Ghana.

According to GUTA, the retail trade is reserved for its members and has for the past few weeks locked up shops belonging to their Nigerian counterparts in Accra and Kumasi.

In another attempt to lock few more shops in Accra yesterday, members of the two unions clashed leading to firing of guns and pelting of stones.

A Ghanaian Times reporter who covered the scene, said the two parties engaged in sporadic firing of gunshots and pelting of stones against each other which led to pandemonium with traders and commuters fleeing for their lives.

According to our reporter, it took the timely intervention of police personnel from the Accra Regional Police Command and the Nima Divisional Police Command to bring the situation under control.

At least seven suspects were reportedly arrested while three others, who sustained injuries, were said to have been rushed to the hospital for medical attention.

So far, more than 70 shops belonging to foreigners who mostly deal in mobile phone accessories had been locked up when our reporter got to the Tip Toe Lane.

As a matter of fact, it is becoming embarrassing and shameful for two parties to be engaged in such confrontations over a matter that could have been resolved through dialogue.

It is difficult to understand why the misunderstanding has been allowed to escalate to this point without any efforts to resolve it.

Indeed, yesterday’s confrontation could have resulted in fatalities but fortunately no one died.

The timely intervention of the police prevented the clash from degenerating and which is why the impasse between the two parties should be brought to an end now.

We must prevent further bloodshed by ordering the two sides to cease fire and rather dialogue.

The introduction of fire arms into the fracas make it dangerous and life threatening and therefore, calls for measures to stop the two parties from engaging in confrontation with each other.

We call on the authorities to institute investigations into yesterday’s clashes with the view of halting any further confrontations.

The Ghanaian Times is unhappy about the handling of the matter between “two brothers” whose actions are a threat to the national security of their two countries.

We must, therefore, not allow them to continue with their confrontation that would mar the relationship between the two countries.

We must act now to stop the two unions.

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