Diplomatic Row as Ghana demolishes Nigeria’s Embassy house in Accra
The Nigerian foreign Ministry is demanding justice over the demolition of a residential building in Nigeria’s diplomatic premises in Ghanaian capital city Accra.
Geoffrey Onyema, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister said unknown persons demolished the building using a bulldozer. He did not say when the demolition was carried out.
“We are engaging the Ghanaian Government and demand urgent action to find the perpetrators and provide adequate protection for Nigerians and their property in Ghana,” Onyema said.
Onyeama said on Sunday that the premises was attacked twice.
Fred Smith, the editor of Ghana-based JoyNews said the men who demolished the building were armed and threatened to shoot the staff of the Nigerian High Commission who tried to interfere.
The head of security Emmanuel Kabutey at the high commission said it was likely the people who demolished the building had the backing of some people in government.
“When the police came, they did not come to us or any other person but rather went straight to the man [leader of the armed men] they had a friendly chat, exchanged numbers with him and allowed him to go,” Kabutey told JoyNews
“When they came back in, they took pictures but did not ask me or my boys anything.”
Nigerian businesses and nationals have come under increasing attacks in the West African country in recent years.
37 Nigerian traders were arrested and detained by the Inter-Governmental Task Force constituted by the Ghanaian Government in 2018. About 10 shops owned by Nigerians were also locked up on Tip Toe Lane at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Ghana on the pretext that they were yet to regularise their business concerns as prescribed by law.
In December 2019, Nigerian lawmaker Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, who chairs the Committee on Diaspora Matters in the House of Representatives, said over 600 shops belonging to foreign traders, most of whom were Nigerians, were forcefully locked up on Sunday, December 1, 2019, at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).
Nigeria in January was forced to deny suggestions of any imminent diplomatic row with Ghana after its officials were allegedly forcefully ejected from a diplomatic property in Accra.
The property was in “use by the Federal Ministry of Finance, since 1957, on leasehold and was later bequeathed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” as a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ferdinand Nwonye said.
He said the Nigerian authorities were in discussion with Ghana to extend the lease on the property after its expiration.
“The property in question is not housing either the Residence of the High Commissioner or the Chancery or staff quarters,” Nwonye said.
Critics of the Nigerian government said its lax handling of attacks on its citizens and their businesses in places like South Africa, Ghana and elsewhere in Africa has emboldened perpetrators.