WE are mollified by the steps the Republic of Ghana has so far taken to vitiate the latest act of diplomatic hostility towards Nigeria through the demolition of buildings in the compound of the Nigerian High Commission in Accra.
Some weeks ago, an agent of the Osu Traditional Council in Accra went to Nigeria’s diplomatic premises with a detachment of state security officials and bulldozers and demolished buildings meant to house staff and guests at the High Commission. They alleged that Nigeria trespassed by building on the site even as an expired lease had not been renewed.
This, predictably, created tensions between the two countries as Nigeria, through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, officially protested the highly provocative and insolent act.
However, the President of Ghana, Mr. Nana Akufo-Addo, wasted no time in personally tendering an unreserved apology to Nigeria in a telephone call to President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, June 22, 2020, promising to investigate the matter. This was a follow-up to the statement earlier issued by the Ghana Ministry of Foreign Affairs apologising to Nigeria.
Besides the apologies, the government of the Republic of Ghana has pledged to rebuild the structures to their original states. They have also set up an investigation into the issue. We are waiting to hear the result of this probe.
Additionally, Ghana has taken steps to permanently settle the land lease issue to ensure this ugly incident never repeats itself in the future.
With these timeously-taken steps, Ghana has lived up to our expectations and those of the diplomatic community worldwide. In any case, it is in the interest of both countries that this issue is sorted out amicably because no one benefits from unnecessary standoffs.
However, we want our Anglophone neighbour to follow up with the residual matters of making law-abiding Nigerians in Ghana much more welcome in their country as Ghanaians in Nigeria are. Nigeria is very welcoming to all Africans, especially West Africans. Nigeria’s wide-open door to Africans is blamed for major security threats we are suffering at the hands of foreign armed herdsmen and bandits.
Due to over a hundred years of close political, social and cultural ties, Ghanaians in particular have no reason to feel like foreigners in Nigeria. Why should Nigerian citizens’ case be different in Ghana? It pays for both countries to remain mutually-beneficial friends.
Apart from the brief but regrettable “Ghana Must Go” incident in 1983 in which undocumented foreigners were forcefully ejected from Nigeria, the country and her citizens have never harboured any shred of xenophobic instinct towards foreigners.
We must reaffirm our commitment to the spirit of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, treaty and promote regional integration for the benefit of everyone in the Community.