By Victoria Ojeme
Nigerian Retired Ambassador Ogbole Amedu Ode has condemned the destruction of an embassy property of the Nigerian government in Accra Ghana saying that Ghana is treaty-bound to respect the dignity and maintain the security of the premises.
According to the Nigerian Minister for foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, two criminal attacks were made on the residential building within Nigeria’s diplomatic premises. In one of the attacks, a bulldozer was used by unknown persons to demolish the building within the premises.
The Ambassador said that while Ghana’s response by way of a press release is a tepid response to a grave error, “it does not, in my opinion, call for a review of our Afrocentric foreign policy exertions. Recall that, even as it is Afrocentric, it is with a concentric circles approach with Nigeria as its epicentre.”
He said, “The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, is very explicit on the entire gamut of diplomatic engagements, including the inviolability of diplomatic premises.”
The former envoy said the Ghanaian authorities should have known and done better in not allowing the breach of the premises of the Nigeria High Commission in Accra, even if for any reason the Nigerian side was wrong-footed in her conduct in anyways.
“As the receiving state, she is Treaty bound to respect the dignity and maintain the security of the premises – that is respect the inviolability of that space,” he said.
“From whatever perspective one views it, Nigeria can not lay claim and indeed begin to develop the property without the knowledge and consent of the host government, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ghana.”
He insisted that the Ghanaian Foreign Ministry will have to answer some questions such as “Is it not in the know of the acquisition(either by purchase or reciprocal allocation) of the said property by Nigeria? And flowing from the above, did the appropriate Ghanaian authorities not issue relevant and appropriate development permits?”
“If the answers to these two questions are in the affirmative, then your guess is as good as mine. If, however, the answer to the contrary, then the High Commission, certainly, has a few queries to answer,” he said.
“My take is that our response must be emphatic! Reason being that about a year ago, a similar incident occurred over a Nigerian diplomatic premise in Kinshasa, DRC.”
“If, however, in the course of investigations into this ugly incident, it is found out that the Nigerian side is in the breach of some of the host country’s due process, then the elements(who conducted this bus) must answer for this national embarrassment. And if the Ghanaian side was aware of this breach of its due process in land acquisition and/or construction and looked the other way in order to exploit it to their advantage in this macabre manner, Nigeria must let them know and emphatically so,” he said.
There have also been recent reports about attacks on Nigerians in the diaspora, including a media report in May where a Ghanaian landlord shot his Nigerian tenant dead, for refusing to vacate the building.
The President of Nigeria Union of Traders in Ghana Chief Chukwuemeka Levi Nnaji said they have been having cordial relations with the host country “except some ungrateful elements among the Ghanaian public who thinks the world belongs to them.”
He said “Nigerians living in Ghana are safe but must thread with caution. It is becoming very expensive for Nigerians living in Ghana. Ghana has just introduced 600 GHC medical report for someone who wants to renew his residence permit.”
“Sincerely the response of our home government toward the problems we face here in Ghana is too slow. For instance, over 600 Nigerians shops in Ghana have been closed for seven months now but not much has been heard from our home Government,” he said.
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