Two sister West African countries, Nigeria and Ghana may face serious diplomatic crises soon unless something urgent is done to resolve what Nigeria sees as serious insult on the part of Ghana.
According to information exclusively made available to ALSC by sources in Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry, the conflict is coming following the invasion and demolition of Nigeria’s diplomatic premises in Ghana by those suspected to be officials of Ghana’s government.
One of the sources said that Nigeria has therefore sent a strong warning to the government of Ghana, condemning the act as well as demanded the immediate arrest of those involved in order to bring them to book, adding that the country would not tolerate what it described as obvious diplomatic insult and criminal trespass on the premises of Africa’s most populous nation.
Also today, Sunday June 21, 2020, the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub, buttressed the fact that Nigeria was insulted by Ghana, saying that the country would not allow the invasion of her diplomatic premises by whoever in Ghana to be swept under the carpet.
He said described the incident as ‘unheard of in any diplomatic circles across the civilised world.’
According to a statement issued by Hon. Buba Yakub who represents Gombi/Hong federal constituency of Adamawa state in the House which was sent to us by his media aide, Nkem Ayata Lafia, a high- capacity bulldozer was deployed by some unnamed Ghanaian nationals to invade the Diplomatic Premises of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Accra, Ghana.
He sais- “From eye- witness accounts, the heavy- duty bulldozer had arrived the Diplomatic Premises at very late hours of the night and had broken through the gate of the premises, where it proceeded on a demolition spree of a set of 4 units of nearly- completed 4-bedroom block of flats, which are said to be awaiting the occupation of some members of the Nigeria Diplomatic Mission in Accra who are seeking to join their colleagues and the Nigeria High Commissioner to Ghana in the mission premises.
“From the callousness of that action against our mission premises in Ghana, the first reaction of our Committee was to consider that a classical case of external aggression against the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a gross violation of all known Conventions and Treaties on Diplomatic Relations and Friendship between two countries.
“Our Committee further gathered that, while the demolition exercise lasted, several frantic efforts were said to have been made by members of the Nigeria Mission to report what was ongoing to both the Ghana Police Service and their Foreign Affairs Ministry; but, in spite of those efforts, no reprieve, we were told, came the way of the Nigerian diplomats. We further learnt that, even when the police had finally arrived the scene of the incident over an hour later, all they had merely come to do was to shake hands with those they had been called upon to rein-in the audacity with which they were violating the rights of members of a diplomatic mission in their country!
“After due consultations among members of our Committee and with various stakeholders in the diplomatic arena, our Committee reliably gathered that the present Nigeria Mission in Accra ,Ghana,constitutes a 4-hectar piece of land that was officially allocated to Nigeria as part of the agreement to situate the mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Ghana during the 60s in furtherance of the charter of the United Nations that then sought to promote global co- operation and friendship among peoples through the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a global treaty that was ratified by both Ghana and Nigeria. Further inquiries also revealed that the Nigerian Mission possesses all necessary legal titles and certifications, including Site Plans, Payment Receipts and Allocation Papers, from the Ghanaian authorities in respect of the land,” he said.
Having stated the facts of the matter, the House Committee Chairman came hard on Ghana and stated the postion of Nigeria as follows:
“That we, vehemently, and without let condemn in totality that act of trespass committed against the Nigeria Mission premises in Accra. We view it for what it is, an invasion of the territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in foreign jurisdictions;
“That we also make bold to equivocally add that that gross violation by the Ghanaian nationals and their colluding authorities constitutes a serious breach of the Vienna Convention that sadly, bears the capacity to cause a diplomatic row and escalate tension between our country and Ghana.
“That, by their action and, indeed, inaction, which makes the authorities complicit in the act, the Ghanaian people violated many an article in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1949 and, therefore, must be sanctioned. For instance, Article 1(i) of that Convention, specifically, recognises, among other facts, that the Nigerian High Commission in Accra, Ghana, is the premises of the Nigerian State. The Article goes on to lend itself to that fact as is captured below :
“The premises of the mission are the buildings or parts of the building and the land ancillary, thereto, irrespective of ownership, used for the purposes of the mission, including the residence of the head of the mission ( in this case ,the High Commissioner)”.
“Again, Article 22(1) of the same Convention seems to firmly corroborate the above and accentuates its importance when it further declares:” The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State ( in this case Ghana) may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission ( in this case, the Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Ghana)”.
“That, as a Parliament, we stand resolute to do everything within our powers to review, re- appraise and re- examine the relationship of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Ghana. We shall, also, employ and deploy all legislative means within our disposal, including exploring and invoking all necessary rules, regulations and instruments that guide our common membership in other Parliaments, to compel the Republic of Ghana to answer for this act of gross violation and abuse of the immunities of the Nigeria mission and its staff.
“It is against the backdrop of the above that our Committee calls on all peoples and nations of goodwill across the globe to, equally, condemn that act of aggression by the Republic of Ghana against the Federal Republic of Nigeria on its soil and to stand with us in every campaign we choose to undertake to make Ghana account for its violation of the international code of friendship against Nigeria. Instead of rising as a bulwark of protection for us ,as ,in fact, is required by Article 22( 2) of that same Convention, where it states:”The receiving State ( that is Ghana) is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity”; Ghana did rather the opposite and the unthinkable against our nation in Accra in a place where Nigeria’s head of mission also resides within an earshot! It did not even matter to anyone in authority in that country that, in line with Article 30 of that aforementioned Convention, the private residence of a diplomatic agent shall( read, must, please) enjoy the same inviolability and protection as the premises of the mission,” he said.
According to him, in spite of whatever measures Ghana would take on the matter, the House Committee will in its own, commence investigation on the matter in order to properly advise the executive on the proper measures to take by Nigera.