Akufo-Ado apologises to Nigeria over demolition

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Ado has apologised to Nigeria over the demolition of the Nigerian High Commission building in Accra, the country’s capital, last weekend.

Akufo-Ado, who apologised to Nigeria yesterday during a telephone chat with President Muhammadu Buhari, also said he had ordered an investigation into the incident.

A businessman, reportedly accompanied by armed policemen, stormed the Nigerian High Commission last weekend with bulldozers and destroyed structures under construction within the premises.

A statement by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said some suspects had been arrested in connection with the incident.

The statement reads: “President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, on Tuesday, spoke with President Muhammadu Buhari, expressing his sincere apology for demolition of a building on the premises of Nigerian High Commission in Accra, Ghana.

“In a telephone call, the Ghanaian leader told President Buhari that he had directed full investigation into the incident.

“Earlier in the day, it further emerged that some suspects had been arrested, and will be arraigned in court.”

Also, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has said Nigeria needs to take appropriate measures against Ghana on the incident.

He also said individuals who trample on the diplomatic rights and privileges of Nigeria and Nigerians in foreign lands should be taught a lesson.

The Speaker, who spoke at a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, said Nigeria cannot continue to fold its hands while its citizens and assets in other countries are attacked by citizens of their host country.

Gbajabiamila said the Accra attack and demolition constituted a direct attack on Nigeria as a sovereign nation, adding that the high commission or embassy of a country is an extension of its territory and sovereignty.

“We all have a responsibility to make sure that we uphold the honour and integrity of the country that we serve. The minister has explained what happened and what they (Ghanaian authorities) have done or are doing. But I think we should look at it from the premise that it was the Nigerian State that was attacked, not just a building.”

“In terms of visibility and otherwise of the property, I want to say that it is trite to understand that all countries exist through their embassies or high commissions in other countries. So, for that reason, Nigeria was attacked by Ghana because if anything happens in Ghana, it’s the Nigerian High Commission that Nigerians will run to and get protection due to the diplomatic immunity that it should enjoy.

“So, let’s face it. If the American Embassy was demolished, do you think the United States would be asking for apologies and indemnity; or the United Kingdom (UK), Canada or any other Western country? They won’t ask for an apology.

“But we have established a pattern here, because from what I heard, that was not the first time it was happening. It happened before and we said we would look into it and then they apologised and we let it go.

“Others may say that this is a sibling rivalry that is going on between Nigeria and Ghana, and we did nothing. But we must take a stand, because this has gone beyond court processes, as the minister said.”

“This diminishes Nigeria as a state because it’s not a land dispute between Nigeria and any individual, but a diplomatic dispute between Nigeria and Ghana, which should be handled accordingly, because the person who did this did it under the cover of their law.”

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