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Between Ghana Must Go And Xenophobic Attacks

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ElevateNews takes a look at how the Nigeria Government sent Ghanaians packing in the 1980s and the xenophobic attacks in South Africa now.

About two million Ghanaians were sent packing by the Nigerian Government in 1983 from Nigeria. It was a time the Ghanaian economy was in serious distress and that of Nigeria was flourishing.

I had a few Ghanaians as friends and teachers and I must confess that they were nice. Ghanaians are still very nice. It is a race I would have loved to be if God had not created me as a Nigerian. A typical Ghanaian is a man of culture.

They came into Nigeria and despite their problems, the Ghanaians were so humble to do any job to earn a living. Their graduates taught in Nigerian schools to university level. There were also millions of them who worked as artisans.

They would not engage in crime. In those days, there was a serious rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana not only in education but mostly in sports, football in particular. These never led to xenophobia, perhaps because it was a healthy rivalry.

However, a military regime led by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari came on board in 1984 to declare war on Ghanaians to leave Nigeria. It was tagged “Ghana Must Go”.

The grouse of the government then was that the Ghanaians had taken over the major and profitable jobs in Nigeria. Ghanaians were good no doubt but they left quietly without being attacked by the angry government.

I was a teenager and I did not think I hate the Ghanaian. There are still thousands of Ghanaians in Nigeria today. I do not think Nigeria and Ghana can be separated because there is a kind of natural affinity between Ghanaians and Nigerians.

The repatriation of Ghanaians by the Nigerian government was done with diplomacy that never destroyed our relationship. I had expected the same from South Africa for Nigerians who had flouted its public order.

This is because, the languages of the South African Government had shown that the xenophobic attack was a consequence of its animosity for foreigners, mostly Nigerians.

To them, Many Nigerians are allegedly involved in the drug trade. They are drug cartels who have since turned the cities of South Africa to slaughter slabs. They kill themselves and other citizens over drugrelated crime.

I had expected that South Africa would repatriate these alleged Nigerians instead of inciting its citizens to attack foreigners. There is no doubt that some Nigerians are very oppressive, especially those who had made money through dubious means.

Nigerians are some of the most intelligent and creative beings in the world. Nigerian men are handsome, their ladies are classy. Nigerians are well-travelled and I think the bad economy back home has caused much of this.

The position of Nigeria in Africa football is enviable, which to South Africa must be battled like war. The last African Cup of Nations between Nigeria and South Africa was like a war. But it went in favour of Nigeria but impelled Bafana Bafana’s anger.

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