Don’t take law into own hands – President cautions GUTA

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) to exercise restraint and desist from taking the laws into their own hands in the matter of Nigerian participation in retail business in Ghana.

The President expressed the concern yesterday when he addressed traders at Okaishie at the Central Business District (CBD) of Accra as part of his three-day tour of the Greater Accra Region.

His comment came in the wake of the clashes between Ghanaian and Nigerian businesses at Circle Tiptoe Lane in Accra on Monday following attempts by GUTA to lock up shops belonging to Nigerian businesses.

There was sporadic firing of gun shots and pelting of stones among the two factions which resulted in traders and commuters running helter skelter for their lives.

More than 70 shops belonging to Nigerians, mostly dealers in mobile phone accessories were allegedly locked and painted red by members of GUTA

The timely intervention of the police from the Accra Regional Command and the Nima Divisional Command, who fired warning shots to calm the situation, averted what could have been a blood bath between the two factions.

Seven suspects were reported to have been arrested by the police to assist in investigations while three others who sustained various injuries during the clash were rushed to the hospital for medical attention.

Police personnel had to be positioned at vantage points in the area with their water cannons to protect lives and prevent further attacks.

President Akufo-Addo said it was needless for members of GUTA to attack their Nigerian counterparts in such a manner, indicating that there were several Ghanaian businesses in Nigeria and other parts of the world who were freely conducting their businesses.

“The law is in favour of GUTA. There is no two ways about it. But please, we are in a country where there is rule of law. Individuals do not enforce laws. It is the responsibility of the government.

“If we allow people to take the laws into their own hands, Ghana will become chaotic. We have to be careful about this phenomenon of taking the law into our own hands,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo appealed to the traders to allow the Minister of Trade and Industry and the committee responsible for addressing the matter to continue their work and expressed optimism that the problem would come to a logical conclusion.

Dr Joseph Obeng, President of GUTA assured the President that the association would cooperate with the government to ensure that the matter was resolved without a dent on the country’s image.

President Akufo-Addo, from there, visited the St. Mary’s Senior High School in Accra to interact with the students, teaching and non-teaching staff of the school as part of his tour of the region. 

BY YAW KYEI

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