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‘Nigerians Add Nothing To Our Development’ – Ghana Replies Nigeria

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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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