Following the riot act read by the Federal Government to hostility towards Nigerians in Ghana, the Ghanaian authorities have extended the olive branch, however, they said they have grievances against Nigeria also.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Ghanaian authority said it would engage the Federal Government of Nigeria with a view to resolving comprehensively and exhaustively matters that have the potential to sour relations between the two countries.
The statement signed by the Ghana Minister of Information, Endkojo Oppong-Nkrumah, was made available to newsmen in Abuja by the Nigeria Ministry of Information and Culture.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government had in a statement on Saturday said it would no longer tolerate the incessant harassment of its citizens in Ghana and the progressive acts of hostility towards the country by Ghanaian authorities.
The statement signed by the Nigeria Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, noted that the government was urgently considering a number of options aimed at ameliorating the situation.
Mohammed had listed the documented acts of hostility towards Nigerians and the authorities by Ghana in the statement.
Responding to the protest by the Federal Government, the Ghanaian authority expressed concerns and denied any act of hostility towards Nigeria and its citizens in Ghana as alleged by the Federal government.
The statement reads, “The government of Ghana notes, with concern, a statement, dated Friday, August 28, 2020, issued by the Ministry of Information and Culture and signed by the Federal Minister, Hon. Lai Mohammed, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, concerning current relations between Ghana and Nigeria.
“Ghana remains committed to the maintenance of warm relations with all sister nations, particularly, for well-known historical reasons, with the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and will proceed to engage the Federal Government of Nigeria with a view to resolve comprehensively and exhaustively any matters that have the potential to sour relations between the two countries.
“Ghana finds it imperative, however, from the onset, to state, for the public record, that the outline of issues by my Nigerian counterpart is not reflective of the developments in Ghana. Any protests, decisions or actions based on these reports will, thus, be unjustified.
“We are obliged, therefore, as a first step, to provide our counterparts, as well as the Ghanaian and Nigerian publics, with a more reflective account of events, even as we pursue substantive diplomatic engagements to resolve matters.
On the seizure of Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 10, Barnes Road, Accra, Oppong-Nkrumah said, “The transaction was a commercial arrangement between Thomas D. Hardy, a private citizen and the High Commission of Nigeria in Ghana on 23rd October 1959.
“The terms of the commercial lease expired 46 years ago, without any evidence of renewal by the High Commission of Nigeria in Ghana. The government of Ghana was not involved in the transaction and has not seized the property in question.”
On demolition of Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, East Ridge, Accra, Ghana said, “A search at the Lands Commission indicated that the Nigerian High Commission failed to complete the documentation process after paying for the land in the year 2000 A.D. The High Commission failed to acquire the Lease and Land Title Certificate, which constitute documentation for the said property, as well as a building permit for construction. In Ghana, land is owned not only by the government, but also by Stools and Families.
“The demolition of the property was not carried out by agents of the Ghanaian government, but by agents of the Osu Stool. Nonetheless, the government of Ghana, valuing the relations between our two countries, has decided to restore the property, at its own cost, to its original state for the Nigerian High Commission”.
On aggressive and incessant deportation of Nigerians from Ghana, Oppong-Nkrumah said, “In 2019, 700 Nigerians, who were found to have been involved in criminal activities such as fraud, prostitution, armed robbery etc., were deported.”
On residency permit requirement, for which Ghana Immigration Service has placed huge fees far higher than the fees charged by the Nigerian Immigration Service, Oppong-Nkrumah said, “It must be noted that all foreigners, who apply for resident permit in Ghana, pay same fees… These fees are not specific to Nigerians.
According to the minister, “There is no media war against Nigerians in Ghana.
There is also no negative reportage on Nigerian residents in Ghana by Ghanaian media, which could potentially lead to xenophobic attitude towards Nigerians, particularly Nigerian traders in Ghana.
“No Nigerian trader has been arrested. The closure of shops was as a result of infractions on Ghanaian laws. Even then, those affected who are not only Nigerians, have been given ample time to regularise their documents. Furthermore, no Nigerian-owned shops are currently closed.
“On the contrary, the negative reportage has been against the Ghanaian government from high places (tweets by Foreign Minister of Nigeria and a Nigerian businessman, who appears to have political interests in Ghana) in Nigeria. “This is inconsistent with established practice in our very good relations. The press release by the Information and Culture Minister of Nigeria is a clear departure from the manner in which officials of the two countries have related with each other in the past.
“Ghana has always demonstrated her commitment to excellent relations with Nigeria which is evidenced by the manner in which Ghanaian government officials dealt with recent issues, which have had severe economic impact on our country.
“Ghana did not resort to any media war. However, the Ghanaian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Trade travelled to Abuja to try to resolve diplomatically the issue of closure of Nigerian borders, and to seek safe corridor for ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) exports from Ghana, all to no avail. It is expected that the response of Nigerian authorities to situations that evolve in our relations should be guided by the merits of the matter and our mutual interests.”
On accusation that 300, 600 and 250 shops belonging to Nigerians were closed down in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively, Ghana said, “Upon evidence that some individuals, including Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians, had been involved in various forms of trade, without complying with the laws and regulations of Ghana, several engagements and prior advice had been given to encourage compliance.
“Ghana’s Minister for Trade and Industry personally intervened to ensure the reopening of closed shops, pending compliance with Ghana’s laws by their operators.”
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