Moses Owharo is the President of All Nigerian Community Ghana. In an exclusive chat with Adebukola Edah, he talked about the important role ANC-GH play in ensuring the welfare of over four million Nigerians are in Ghana and why the Nigeria High Commission to Ghana needs to give the association the necessary support to help reduce crime rate, some injustices metted out to Nigerians and more.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Isoko from Delta state. I’ve been in Ghana for over 18 years. I’m a business man. Aside being the head of ANC-GH, I also have my own companies. I run a financial NGO and also have a company that deals with vessel logistics. I have also served in various organizations before I became the president of ANC-GH in 2013, when a new ambassador took over, and a national congress held where I emerged the new president.
Can you briefly tell us a about the association and its benefits to Nigerians in Ghana?
The association exists, in all the regions of Ghana, comprising the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, but we have only about seven that are functioning well for now. But now, we have all come together as one entity and some managerial posts are being put in place to strengthen and give the association a corporate uplift. We want people to know that beside the embassy, there is another place they can get information. The association is voluntary. It only takes an individual filling a form and identifying his or herself. We look into records to find out if you are truly a Nigerian. You must have a valid passport or an identity card and legitimate reason why you are in Ghana, either as a tourist, business man or woman, so that you don’t get into trouble with the authority. Also, we have a new form to get complete information about our members and also give the association a facelift and be more corporate in our dealings with other organizations. That is why we have come up with a new constitution to guide us, especially during elections.
What does it require to be a registered member of ANC-GH?
The association is a voluntary one. It takes an individual filling our form and providing a valid identification and we follow due process to ensure that such person is really a Nigerian. So, there are certain verifications or due process that have to be done. You must have a valid Nigerian passport or ID and we ensure that one or two people can vouch that such person is a Nigerian. Within the catchment area you are coming from, the leader of the Nigerian community there must be able to identify you and what you are doing for a living in Ghana or why you are in Ghana. If you are coming as a tourist, we can give information that will help protect such individuals. Sometime we have cases of Nigerians coming into the country without the necessary information and they get into wrong hands or get into trouble just because of the currency. You can get into trouble with taxi drivers and what have you. So, there is a need to properly organize the structure. But what is happening at the moment is that we’ve had some registrations which were not properly done, so we have come up with a new form which spells out the modalities for registration and identification.
What plans have you to create awareness for Nigerians in Ghana about the association?
We are doing a lot of work. If you Google my name, Moses Owharo, ANCG will come being the head and on facebook you get to see all the activities that we do. We had a press conference about the Nigerian student that was killed and it was put on our page to create awareness for such cases and why Nigerians need to register with us. We are also planning a media brief with all Nigerian reporters in Ghana to inform them about the development we have made so far and they can help spread the news to Nigerians both in Ghana and abroad. We are also looking at a proper way of disseminating information. For now, you can connect with the association on Facebook. Just type All Nigerian community Ghana and you will find our page and get the necessary information about us. We also have a website which is currently down due to some technical issues, and we are fixing it so it can be active again.
How busy do you get as the president of the association?
I get very busy most of the time and my private life suffers for it. There are several issues facing Nigerians in Ghana, the traders, the students and ordinary visitors who just come in to stay for a few days and they get into trouble. For such cases the police or individual involved don’t hesitate to call the office or me. So, most times, I go from one place to the other, trying to solve cases and talking with the police on behalf of those that have landed in their custody. My resources are very limited in terms of finances, because it’s an association, we have not started using the proper means of generating revenue. That’s part of our plan to have a sustainable source of income which is through registration and to also enable us have the necessary data and information about Nigerians and their source of income and the type of business or job they are doing. If the person is a trader, and is registered with the association, we can help you promote your business so far it is registered so that we can add your company’s name to the business community of Nigeria.
What is the estimation of Nigerians living in Ghana?
By estimate, we are approaching four million, because the students alone are like 100,000. A school has over 3,000 Nigerian students. I have written to the Ministry of Education and Ghana Association of Universities and also visited few of the universities to have an understanding with them. We intend to set up a student desk where Nigerian students who have issues can be attended to in a proactive way. Sometimes when they go to the high commissioner, they don’t get immediate response. I’ve experienced a situation whereby one of the female students was sick and she and her friends didn’t have money to take her to the hospital, I was contacted, went to their hostel and we took her to the hospital where she was properly attended to. I had to pay the bills with my personal money. So, through the registration, parents who want their ward to attend school in Ghana can go to liaison office in Nigeria or contact us, so that they can be interviewed and given list of schools that are accredited by the ANC-GH just like what the Nigerian embassy in Ghana has done. So, these are some of the things we are putting in place. Through the registration, you can also have access to your account because we are partnering Zenith and Ecobank which will enable an individual get a visa card with your picture on it. It can be used for payment of school fees and to withdraw from the ATM when you are sent money from Nigeria. We are also partnering immigration, to create a special desk for Nigerian community for those who want to renew or process their resident permit. We’ve had instances where passports go missing and you don’t know who to hold responsible because the government is very big. The association will help in solving some of these cases. And we are also working hard with the Ghana police to ensure crime rate does not go higher. Around 2002, we had a lot of newspaper publications on Nigerians who were involved in criminal activities, but these days, it has reduced to like 50 percent.
What type of relationship exists between ANCG and the Nigeria High Commissioner to Ghana?
The association is autonomous, but we make sure we compliment the effort of the Nigerian government and the embassy.