Connect with us

Today In History

Today In History: How Nigeria Ordered 1 Million Ghanaians Out Of Nigeria In 1983; And How This Led To The Fame Of The ‘Ghana Must Go Bag’

Published

on


Exactly 38 Years ago on 17th January 1983, Nigeria expelled two million undocumented West African migrants, half of whom were from Ghana.

The President of Nigeria, Shehu Shagari issued an executive order mandating immigrants without proper immigration documents to leave the country or they would be arrested according to the law. The order was in alleged response to the religious disturbances that had engulfed parts of the country in 1980 (the Kano Riots) and 1981. Most of the immigrants were West Africans and mainly Ghanaians.

In 1958, Nigeria struck oil as a young, soon-to-be-liberated country with a population of 100-million. First Shell, then Mobil and Agip set up shop in the country to drill oil commercially.

The oil money was steady and hopes were high that Nigeria could prosper, despite the brutal military regimes that marred that period. In the 1970s the economy exploded when oil prices soared worldwide. The golden decade had arrived and the country became Africa’s wealthiest, securing its title: Giant of Africa.

By 1974, Nigeria’s oil wells were spitting out some 2.3-million barrels a day. The standard of living improved. There was an influx of people from the farms into the cities; when they travelled, robust iron boxes were generally preferred over cheap plastic sacks. The influx came not just from within Nigeria, but from across the region.

While Nigeria was booming, its closest English-speaking neighbour, Ghana, was going through quite the opposite. A deadly mix of famine and insurgency was precipitated by a crash in the price of cocoa (Ghana was the world’s largest cocoa producer in the 1960s) and the 1966 coup, which ousted independence leader Kwame Nkrumah. At the time, the country’s population hovered around the seven-million mark, but several million people decided to journey east and try their fortunes in prosperous Nigeria.

So many Ghanaians went to Nigeria that it seemed like every Ghanaian family had a relative working there. Across the 19 states that existed then — there are now 36 — primary and secondary schools were filled with Ghanaian teachers, who were well known for their thoroughness and their pankeres — the long, supple beating sticks wrapped lovingly in sticky tape for added sting. Law offices, shoe repair shops, ice cream parlours, restaurants and brothels were flooded with neighbours from the west.

And then came the oil crash. Global oil prices started to dip in 1982, when large consumer markets such as the United States and Canada slipped into recession and demand was low. By 1983, the price of a barrel had fallen to $29, down from $37 in 1980. At around the same time, the US began producing its own oil, further cutting demand and causing excess supply. Nigeria, its economy almost exclusively reliant on oil, was hard hit. By 1982, 90% of the country’s foreign reserves had been wiped out, according to the Washington Post.

As it began to feel the crunch, Nigeria started to turn inwards. By 1982, politicians started to use words like “aliens” in their manifestos in preparation for the 1983 general elections. They blamed African migrants, especially Ghanaians, for the flailing economy. Ghanaians had taken all the jobs and brought crime to Nigeria and, if elected, they would chase them out, they promised.

This eventually became a reality when on 17th January 1983, President Shehu Shagari ordered the inevitable. With Nigerian nationals becoming increasingly hostile towards Ghanaians and other illegal migrants, the victims had no choice but to pack their few personal effects and make the journey back to their country.

The sturdy, checked bags into which they packed their belongings have become a symbol of exclusion and intolerance. Nearly four decades later, the region is yet to confront its emotional baggage.

The borders were a disaster, crammed with desperate people carrying chairs on their heads, dragging their checked bags and selling off whatever they couldn’t lift to make money to pay for fares that had doubled. Millions streamed out through any possible exit they could find — through Shaki, in western Nigeria, to northern Benin. Down south, at the Seme border in Lagos, stampedes would kill many. Dozens were loaded onto open haulage trucks headed for Ghana.

But Jerry Rawlings, Ghana’s military head of state, had ordered the borders with Togo closed, to desist coup plotters and insurgents, so there would be no passage for days. In response, Togo closed its border with Benin to avoid a refugee crisis. Cars stalled bumper to bumper from the Benin-Togo border to Lagos, with people caught in sweltering heat and without water. Diseases spread. The United States prepared to send in aid. The League of Red Cross Societies airlifted 500 tents, 10 000 blankets and thousands of buckets, according to the Washington Post.

Perhaps, this had been long overdue as many thought the Nigerians were only paying Ghana back for what happened in 1969, when the then-Ghanaian prime minister, Kofi Abrefa Busia, invoked the Aliens Compliance Order and deported an estimated 2.5-million undocumented African migrants, the majority of whom were Nigerians.

The Nigerians had grown annoyingly enterprising, their business acumen sharper, to the detriment of Ghanaian businesses. Even in Ghana’s instability, Nigerian traders managed to have everything, and at cheaper prices.

Source: GhanaFeed.Com

Advertisement

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Today In History

Today In History: Exactly 55 Years Ago Today, Kotoka Overthrows Kwame Nkrumah In ‘Operation Cold Chop’

Published

on


On February 24, 1966, the National Liberation Council (NLC) overthrew Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah and the Conventions People’s Party (CPP) in a military coup d’état while he was on a peace mission in Hanoi the capital of Vietnam at the invitation of the president, Ho Chi Minh to resolve the Vietnam War.

Lt-Gen Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka, was one of the leading members of the NLC who staged the most talked about “Operation Cold Chop” coup.

“Fellow citizens of Ghana, I have come to inform you that the Military, in co-operation with the Ghana Police, have taken over the government of Ghana today. The myth surrounding Nkrumah has been broken. Parliament has been dissolved and Kwame Nkrumah has been dismissed from office. All ministers are also dismissed from office. The C.P.P. is disbanded with effect from now. It will be illegal for any person to belong to it,” Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka announced the successful overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah on Radio Ghana.

Kwame Nkrumah in his book, ‘Dark Days in Ghana’, wrote that the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A) of the United States of America aided the Ghana Army at the time to overthrow his government. He died on April 27, 1972, in Bucharest, Romania after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Source: GhanaWeb

Continue Reading

Today In History

Today In History: Exactly 56 Years Ago Today, JB Danquah Died In Nsawam Prison After Being Detained By Kwame Nkrumah

Published

on


On this day in 1965, Dr. Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah, a Ghanaian politician died at the Nsawam Prisons.

Dr Danquah who was a scholar, lawyer, and one of the founding fathers of Ghana died in prison while serving a prison sentence over his alleged involvement in an attempted assassination on the life of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, then President of Ghana.

Read details of his death as published by eaumf.org below:

Dr J. B. Danquah stood as a presidential candidate against Nkrumah in April 1960 but lost the election. On 3 October 1961, Danquah was arrested under the Preventive Detention Act, on the grounds of involvement with alleged plans to subvert the CPP government. He was released on 22 June 1962. He was later elected president of the Ghana Bar Association.

Danquah was again arrested on 8 January 1964, for allegedly being implicated in the Ametewee assassination attempt against the President. He was admitted to Nsawam Prison and placed in the Condemned Section (Special Block) in Cell No. 9 on the upper landing.

The cell is approximately 9 feet by 6 feet in area, secured by a solid door with small open grille in the top half of the door and barred window high up in the rear wall.

The cell contained no bed or other furniture other than a chamber pot. He reportedly suffered a heart attack and died while in detention at Nsawam Medium Prison on 4 February 1965.

After the overthrow of the CPP government in February 1966 by the National Liberation Council (NLC), Danquah was given a national funeral and his status was rehabilitated.

Source: GhanaWeb

Continue Reading

Today In History

Today In History: Exactly 86 Years Ago, The Golden Stool Was Returned To The Asante People And The Kingdom Restored

Published

on


Exactly 86 Years ago today, on January 31st 1935, the Asante Kingdom was restored to it’s glory with the symbolic return of the Golden Stool, making King Osei Agyemang Prempeh II, the first Asantehene to use the title, ‘Otumfuor’.

After several prior wars with British troops, Ashanti was once again occupied by British troops in January 1896.

 In 1900 the Ashanti staged an uprising. The British suppressed the violence and captured the city of Kumasi. Ashanti’s traditional king, the Asantehene, and his counselors were deported.

The final outcome was the annexation of Ashanti by the British so that it became part of His Majesty’s dominions and a British Crown Colony with its administration undertaken by a Chief Commissioner under the authority of the Governor of the Gold Coast. Ashanti was classed as a colony by conquest.

The Ashanti lost their sovereignty but not the essential integrity of their socio-political system. In 1935, limited self-determination for the Ashanti was officially regularized in the formal establishment of the Ashanti Confederacy.

The Crown Colony of Ashanti continued to be administered in a scheme with the greater Gold Coast but remained, nonetheless, a separate Crown Colony until it became united as part the new dominion named Ghana under the Ghana Independence Act 1957.

In 1935, the Golden Stool, which had been lost to the British, after Asante lost the war, was finally returned to the Kingdom, signifying the return to glory of Asante.

The stool was used in the ceremony to crown Otumfuor Sir Osei Agyemang Prempeh II.

Source: GhanaFeed.Com

Continue Reading

Politics

Politics28 mins ago

Petition: NPP Executives Pop Champagne As They Celebrate Court Ruling

Executives of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) could not withhold their joy as they popped champagne in celebration of the...

Election 20203 hours ago

Blame Yourself For Not Doing Your Work Properly In The Strong Room – Supreme Court Chastizes Kpessah Whyte And Mettle-Nunoo

The justices of the supreme court have told witnesses of Mr John Dramani Mahama in the election petition, Mr Rojo...

Election 20204 hours ago

Breaking News: Supreme Court Unanimously Dismisses Mahama’s Petition As Having No Merit

The 7-member panel of the Supreme Court hearing the 2020 election petition have dismissed the 2020 election petition brought before...

Election 20207 hours ago

Supreme Court Update: Mahama In Court As Judges Get Set To Pronounce Their Verdict

The Petitioner in the 2020 election petition, John Dramani Mahama has made an appearance at the premises of the Supreme...

Politics9 hours ago

Clap For The Mother Serpent Of Corruption, He’s Done It Again – NDC’s Yayra Koku Reacts To Akufo-Addo’s Compulsory Domelevo Retirement

President Akufo-Addo’s commitment to fighting corruption looks like mere lip service, National Democratic Congress (NDC) member, Yayra Koku has opined....

Election 20202 days ago

How Tsatsu Tsikata’s Supreme Court Antics Inspired Ghanaians To Finally Challenge The ‘Powerful’ Supreme Court

To many, the man Tsatsu Tsikata is an academic and a man so much in love with the law that...

Politics3 days ago

I Will Never Join NDC Again Even If My Suspension Is Lifted – Allotey Jacobs

Allotey Jacobs, former Central Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) says he never return to the party even...

Election 20204 days ago

Mahama Was Asking The Supreme Court To Ignore The People’s Will Because Of An Error By The EC – Gabby Otchere Darko

Senior Member of the governing New Patriotic Party, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, says former President John Dramani Mahama’s election petition goes...

Politics4 days ago

Supreme Court Will Tell Us Next Week Whether The Dead Goat Is Lost – Koku Anyidoho Subtly Mocks NDC Again

A former Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Koku Anyidoho has said that by next week, the whole country will know...

Politics6 days ago

Video: Renowned Musical Evangelist, Diana Asamoah Prophesies Victory For Alan Kyerematen?

Celebrated Evangelist Diana Asamoah has been cited in a video footage which has since gone viral on social media in which the...

Business

Business2 hours ago

How Sujimoto Overcame All Odds And Funded A $52 Million USD Project – LucreziaBySujimoto

It was in 2019, I was near ‘dead broke’ after I had just spent millions on the #SujimotoIs5 event –...

Business1 week ago

Hobort Shipping Now Delivers Items from Ghana to the U.S.A

Hobort Shipping, a global shipping service headquartered in Accra, Ghana, has taken a mega step forward, introducing a new service...

Business2 weeks ago

From Local To Global: Find Out About Hobort Shipping Services, The Ghanaian Shipping Company That Is Shipping Packages Affordably To Any Part Of The World

Shipping of goods and packages has become very essential especially in the modern world. With the advent of online shopping...

Business1 month ago

MTN Supports Africa’s Coronavirus Vaccine Effort With US$25 Million

Africa’s leading mobile network MTN has announced a donation of US$25 million to support the African Union’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. The donation will help...

Business3 months ago

Sujimoto’s Banana Island Project To Be The Next Downtown, Dubai

“You buy ‘a property’ when you want to be somebody, but you buy a LeonardoBySujimoto when you are already someone”...

Business4 months ago

SIJIBOMI OGUNDELE: How I Run Sujimoto Construction; My Story: From Agege to Ikoyi, How to Make Nigeria and Its Youths Great

Avant-garde, debonair, futuristic, and innovative is among the traits that describe the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Sujimoto...

Business4 months ago

Police Withdraw Criminal Case Against Alhaji Sinare

The Ghana Police have withdrawn a criminal case against the National Vice Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC),...

Business5 months ago

Sub-Saharan Africa Has No Choice Than To Stick To Fossil Fuel-Dr Babajide Agunbiade.

As the world is drifting towards the use of renewable energy to power their economies, sub-Saharan Africa has no choice...

Business6 months ago

African Construction Giant, Sujimoto Clinches Time Tech Award

Sijumoto, Nigeria’s leading luxury Real Estate brand has won the just concluded Time Tech Award, a prestigious continental award organised...

Business6 months ago

4% Reduction In ‘Talk Tax’ Takes Effect Today

Mobile subscribers and data users will from Tuesday, September 15, 2020, enjoy longer durations of voice and data bundles but...

Trending