Ghana responds to Nigeria gov’t’s accusations

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Following recent threats by the Nigerian Government, with regards to its current relations with Ghana, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, has assured that Ghana remains committed to the maintenance of warm relations with all sister nations.

In a statement addressing various accusations made by Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Federal Minister in Charge of Culture and Information, Mr Oppong Nkrumah added that Ghana would  proceed  to  engage  the  Nigerian government with  a  view  to  resolving all  matters  that  can damage the cordial relationships between the two countries.

Accusations

In relations to the alleged seizure of the Nigerian Mission’s property, which the Nigerian government described as a serious breach of the Vienna Convention, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the statement was inaccurate in the sense that “the  transaction  was  a  commercial  arrangement between Thomas D. Hardy, a private citizen, and the High Commission of Nigeria in Ghana on 23rd October, 1959. The terms of the Commercial Lease expired 46 years ago, without any evidence of renewal by the High Commission of Nigeria in Ghana.”

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Responding to the accusation that the Government of Ghana failed to notify Nigerian authorities about renewing the lease, the Information Minister explained that the Ghana Government had never owned the disputed land and that “the land in question is owned by the Osu Stool and managed by the Lands Commission.”

Media war

According to the Nigerian Government, Ghana is currently executing a media war against Nigerians in Ghana, which they believe can lead to xenophobic attacks.

“The immediate fallout is the incessant harassment and arrest of Nigerian traders and closure of their shops,” the Nigerian Minister had claimed.

Describing the statement as not factual, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said there had been no media war against Nigerians in Ghana, neither has any Nigerian trader been arrested.

“On  the  contrary,  the  negative  reportage  has  been  against  the  Ghanaian Government  from  high  places (tweets  by  Foreign  Minister  of  Nigeria  and a Nigerian  businessman, who  appears  to have  political  interests  in  Ghana) in Nigeria.

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“This is   inconsistent   with   established   practice   in   our   very   good relations. The press release by the Information and Culture Minister of Nigeria is a clear departure from the manner in which officials of the two countries have related with each other in the past,” he said.

With regards to accusations that some 300, 600 and 250 shops belonging  to  Nigerians  were  closed  down  in  2018,  2019  and  2020, respectively, Ghana’s Information Minister clarified that evidence points to the fact that some individuals,  including Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians, had been involved in various forms of trade without complying with the laws and regulations of Ghana. He said that led to the Minister for Trade and Industry intervening to ensure  the reopening  of  closed  shops, pending  compliance  with  Ghana’s  laws  by  the operators.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah mentioned some of the gross violations of retail trade laws and regulations by Ghanaians and foreigners, including some Nigerians, as tax    evasion, immigration offenses, trading in sub-standard products, violation of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) law, among others.

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“It is important to note that the compliance exercise under reference is not restricted to either ECOWAS nationals or Nigerians, for that matter, but extend to all individuals engaged in retail trade, including Ghanaians,” he said.

Nigeria’s interest

The Information Minister reminded the Nigerian Government of some measures it took recently, in pursuit of her national interests, which have gravely affected other countries in the region.

“These include the closure of Nigeria’s Seme Krake Border, from August  2019  to  date, and  the  issuance  of  executive  orders  by  Nigeria’s  Presidency, preventing foreigners from getting jobs which Nigerians can do, to mention a few,” he said in the statement.

He assured the Nigerian Government that the President of Ghana, who values very much the excellent relations with the President of Nigeria, will jaw-jaw to find the best way of addressing the issues.

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