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Foreign - News - Special News - Thematterspress - June 26, 2020

Ghana moves beyond apology over demolition in Nigerian Embassy

Ghana

By Mohammed Momoh

In less than 24 hours after its apology over the demolition some buildings in the High Commission of Nigeria in Accra, Ghana has released a package to remediate the crisis, including the restoration of the demolished structures.

Ghana on June 25, 2020 released appropriate recommendations of the committee that investigated what it regarded as a “breach of the premises’’ of the High Commission of Nigeria.

Ghana acknowledged the Friday night demolition of some buildings in the premises of the High Commission located at 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, Ringway Estates, East Ridge, Accra.

The committee which looked into the incident is comprised of officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Lands Commission, National Security Secretariat and the Ghana Police Service.

According to Mr Shirley Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ghana takes a serious view of the violation of the diplomatic premises and will ensure that the demolished building is restored to its original state, as soon as possible.

Botchwey said Ghana has also decided to issue a Land Title Certificate to the High Commission of Nigeria to regularize its ownership of the property in question.

The government, he said, would also issue a letter to the Osu Traditional Council stating, the claimant of the land, to confirm that Nigeria actually got the offer in August 2000 and also paid all the charges.

“The Government of Ghana will take immediate steps to engage the Osu Stool and all stakeholders on the impasse,’’ he said.

The Criminal Investigation Department, he reported, would expedite action on investigations, given the delicate nature of the matter and its potential ramifications on Ghana–Nigeria relations and prosecute those arrested in respect of the demolition.

Government expressed deep regrets over the violation of the diplomatic premises and assured that both countries would pursue the matter to its logical conclusion and ensure that the perpetrators are sanctioned in accordance with the laws and calm tensions.

He reported that High Commission of Nigeria presented letter referenced SCR/LCS 74/VOL.2/95 dated 7th August, 2000, granting allocation and right of entry to the High Commission, a 4-acre parcel of land in the Accra Osu Mantse Layout.

Nigeria further presented receipts of payments on the said land, made by Bankers Draft payable to the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission. However, Land Title Certificate had not been issued to the High Commission.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has reported that it would not engage in a fight with Ghana over the issue.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo on Tuesday called President Muhammadu Buhari to tender sincere apologies for the demolition saying he had ordered a full scale investigation into the matter.

Mr Garba Shehu, spokesperson to President Buhari, said both leaders would resolve the issue diplomatically.

Also Nigeria has expressed satisfaction over the moves by the Government of Ghana to address the demolition of the residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner in Accra.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said in Abuja on Thursday, that the government had taken note of the efforts of President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo and Ghanaian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayokor Botchwey to calm the situation.

He however expressed concerns that reports indicated that the perpetrators of the act were unhindered and had a lot of time despite calls to the Ghanaian authorities by the Charge d’Affaires of the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana.

He added that further reports indicated that the security operatives who were on ground during the demolition, seemed to have been supportive of those carrying out the violation on Nigeria’s Sovereign territory in Ghana.

He however noted that the perpetrators had been arrested and arraigned in court and the government of Ghana had apologised and equally promised to rectify all the pending paper works that led to the misinformation of the Lands Commission in Ghana.

“The Government of Ghana has assumed total responsibility and with the apology, have made it clear that they will be responsible for restitution – rebuilding the building to the state that it was when it was destroyed.

“So, this is to say that the matter has been satisfactorily resolved and that at very highest level as I mentioned, President Muhammadu Buhari personally engaged in this process.

“The President of Ghana has apologised, those who carried out the action have been arrested and charged to court and the Ghana government has agreed to rebuild the property.

“So, we would like to put the matter to rest and to acknowledge the very speedy reaction of the Ghanaian government and to say that we will now continue to further strengthen relations between our two countries, take lessons learnt from what has happened and move ahead without recriminations,” Onyeama said.

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