The government of Ghana is continuing with strenuous efforts to appease the Federal Republic of Nigeria and quell a full-blown diplomatic row after a property belonging to the Nigerian High Commission in Accra was vandalised last week.
Since the late evening incident on Friday, June 19, 2020, said to have been masterminded by a party holding claim to a piece of land on which the Nigerian High Commission had put up structures, Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has been relentless to calm tempers of its Anglophone neighbour.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria did not hide its anger over the incident, with Lawmakers in Nigeria rejecting an apology from Ghana.
The Nigerians insisted that the incident was a “direct attack on the Federal Republic of Nigeria which must not go unanswered.”
But Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, committed to sustaining the decades-old peace between the two states, constituted a committee to investigate the incident and make appropriate recommendations.
The committee comprised officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Lands Commission, National Security Secretariat and the Ghana Police Service.
At a press conference held on Wednesday, June 25, 2020, Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, said after studying evidence presented by both the Nigerian High Commission and the Lands Commission Ghana Government will ensure that the demolished building is restored to its original state, as soon as possible, at a cost to the people of Ghana.
Also, the Lands Commission has been directed to issue a letter to the Osu Traditional Council – which had sold the parcel of the land to a third party – stating that in August 2000, a formal offer was made to the High Commission of Nigeria with respect to the parcel of land in question.
According to the Ministry, the evidence adduced suggests that the offer was accepted by the High Commission and payments made, accordingly constituting a contract.
Further, the Lands Commission will be made to issue a Land Title Certificate to the High Commission of Nigeria to regularise its ownership of the property in question.
The Ministry had revealed that the inability of the Nigerian High Commission to obtain of Land Title Certificate presented a loophole in the whole affair.
The Government of Ghana will also engage the Osu Stool and all stakeholders on the impasse.
“Following the arrest of some persons connected to the breach of the premises of the High Commission of Nigeria, the Criminal Investigation Department will expedite action on investigations, given the delicate nature of the matter and its potential ramifications on Ghana–Nigeria relations,” Shirley Ayorkor Botchway promised.
Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, however, advised the High Commission of Nigeria to take appropriate steps to obtain building permits for any construction project.
She was emphatic that the Government of Ghana will actively engage the Nigerian Government at the highest level to address the impasse and help calm tensions in both countries.