Nigerian High Commission in Ghana attacked, apartments demolished
By Hillary Obayangbon, Accra
Armed men stormed the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana to demolish apartments reportedly being constructed to house staffs and visitors.
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 is the real owner of the land.
However, he reportedly returned to the site on Friday in the company of armed men who supervised the demolition.
Officials of the commission reportedly contacted the police but efforts were not made to prevent the demolition.
The Nigerian and Ghanaian authorities are yet to react to the issue which comes five months after the ministry of foreign affairs denied the reports that the Nigerian commission in Ghana had been evicted in Accra.
In a statement, Ferdinand Nwonye, the spokesman of the ministry, had said there was no “diplomatic row between Nigeria and the Republic of Ghana”.
Nwonye had 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.
Ghana government begins investigation
About 48 hours after the diplomatic building of the Nigerian High Commission in Accra was demolished by unknown persons, the Government of Ghana on Sunday said it has begun an investigation into the incident.
Ghana’s Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration ministry said it “has beefed up security at the said facility and the situation is under control.”
“Accordingly, investigations are ongoing to unravel the facts of the matter and bring the perpetrators to book.”
The Ghanaian government’s response comes after claims of an underlying diplomatic row between Nigeria and Ghana resurfaced when the Nigeria High Commission in Accra, Ghana’s capital was attacked on Friday.
What really happened ?
Armed men stormed the Nigerian High Commissioner’ residence in Accra with bulldozers to demolish a block of apartments in the diplomatic building on Friday night.
The building which was still undergoing construction was being built to house staff and visiting diplomats to the Nigeria High Commission in Ghana.
It was said the armed men threatened to shoot staff of the Nigerian embassy who were present at the scene if they interfered in their operations.
According to the head of security at the High Commission Emmanuel Kabutey, the leader of the team that came to demolish the building told them that they had the backing of National Security and that “if any of us try, he will clear us off.”
Insisting that the demolition being backed by authorities in the Ghanaian Government, Kabutey complained about the lackluster attitude of the police in handling the situation.
“When the police came, they did not come to us or any other person but rather went straight to the man [leader of the armed men] they had a friendly chat, exchanged numbers with him and allowed him to go,” Kabutey told Spy News.
“When they came back in, they took pictures but did not ask me or my boys anything.”
Nigerian government reacts
Nigerian Government on Sunday confirmed the incident and demanded immediate actions be taken by Ghana authorities on the incident.
“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,” Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister Geoffrey Onyema said.
Onyeama did not disclose details of his conversation with the Ghanaian government on the attack which was also reported on the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana’s website.
The latest attack is, however, not the first time that the residency of the Nigerian embassy in Ghana has been threatened by alleged intimidation from the host country.