Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Amb. Olufemi Abikoye, has cautioned Ghanaians to stop the incessant negative media reports on Nigerians living in the country.
The envoy, in a statement obtained in Abuja on Tuesday, condemned a situation where all Nigerians livin in Ghana were being branded as bunch of criminals by the country’s media.
Abikoye said the continual reference to every Nigerian living in Ghana as a criminal even in reference to crimes with full participation of Ghanaians was unacceptable.
The high commissioner cautioned that such a development was not in the best interest of both countries.
He said it was wrong for Ghanaians to take the actions of “insignificant few elements from Nigeria to criminalise and unfairly canonise a brotherly country like Nigeria as a country of criminals who have come to disturb the peace of Ghana.”
According to the high commissioner, the daily negative reports on Nigerians by the media in Ghana “has caused untold pains, agony and apprehension to the teaming law abiding Nigerians living in Ghana.
“This set of people comprises astute businessmen, bankers, insurance brokers, students as well as investors.”
Abikoye however said the High Commission would not condone any act of criminality on the part of Nigerians living in Ghana, stressing that it would not accept general branding of all Nigerians as criminals either.
He said: “A situation where five Ghanaians in company of three Nigerians allegedly kidnapped two Canadians but seems to enjoy wide coverage as a crime committed by Nigerians and considers Ghanaians only as accomplices leaves much to be desired on the objectivity of such report.”
Abikoye was referring to a recent kidnap of two Canadians in Ghana which led to negative media reports on Nigerians resident in the country.
The high commissioner therefore cautioned the media in Ghana to be “highly circumspect in their reportage.”
Abikoye reminded Ghanaians of the good relations between Nigeria and their country as well as the brotherly cordial relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Nana Akufo-Addo.
He stressed that this should not be jeopardised by xenophobic tendencies.
While cautioning journalist Ghana against what “media trial,” the envoy said whoever committed any crime must face the consequences of his/her action.
“Moreover, such media trials could be seen as prejudicial to the outcome of the ongoing prosecution in court, which sees them as innocent until proven guilt,” he said.
Abikoye gave the assurance that the high commission would continue to mobilise Nigerians in Ghana to continue to be law abiding, saying it was in touch with the host authorities to amicably resolve the issue