Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Diplomatic row appears imminent between Nigeria and Ghana as the Federal Government over attack on the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana.
Some persons, Friday night, invaded the residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner in Accra and demolished a building within the premises.
The block of apartments, Daily Sun gathered, is an official quarter within the residence of the High Commissioner under construction to house staff and visitors.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in a tweet, yesterday, said those responsible for the attack must be brought to book immediately.
“We strongly condemn two outrageous criminal attacks in Accra, #Ghana, on a residential building in our diplomatic premises by unknown persons in which a bulldozer was used to demolish the building. 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,” said Onyeama.
A Ghanaian businessman had accused the commission of encroaching on his land. He was said to have visited the place last week, presenting evidence that he was the real owner of the land.
On Friday, he returned to the site in company of armed men who supervised the demolition.
Officials of the commission reportedly contacted the police, but it is alleged that the law enforcement made no efforts to prevent the demolition.
The intruders were said to have first approached the premises to demolish it, but met stiff resistance from Nigerians. They, however, retreated and reinforced with bulldozers, bringing down a considerable part of the building, with other parts left in shreds. The unknown midnight visitors were reported to have the backing of the National Security and were said to have threatened to shoot officials of the High Commission who were at the scene if they made moves to stop the demolition.
Friday’s demolition, however, followed series of face-offs between Nigerians in Ghana and Ghanaian traders in what many have feared had created a diplomatic row between both countries.
The development comes five months after the Ministry of Foreign affairs denied reports that the Nigerian commission in Ghana had been evicted in Accra.
But in a statement, Ferdinand Nwonye, spokesperson of the ministry, had said there was no “diplomatic row between Nigeria and the Republic of Ghana.”
He said though the lease of the property on No.10 Barnes Road, Accra, has expired, the High Commission was exploring the possibility of renewing the lease agreement with the host authorities.
He told Daily Sun the minister is engaging with his counterpart in Ghana.
“By Monday, we will know the Government’s position.”
Nwonye said the outcome of the diplomatic engagement, particularly the government’s position, would be made known today.
Meanwhile, the government of Ghana, has expressed dismay over the demolition.
The Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in a statement, said it viewed with concern, the development which was a breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The government of Ghana said investigations were ongoing to unravel the facts of the matter and bring the perpetrators to book.
The government also said it had beefed up security at the facility, even as it said the situation was under control.