Members of the Parliament (MP) of Ghana serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee have expressed worry about the seemingly bastardizing of Nigerian nationals living in Ghana get themselves involved in crimes and related matters by the local media.
They have therefore appealed to the local media and Ghanaians in general to be circumspect in their pronouncements when dealing with crimes and related matters committed by foreign nationals living in the former British Colony.
At a joint press conference organized on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, by the leadership (Chairman and Ranking Member) of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman of the Committee and MP for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, called for calm and asked the media and the general public to tread with caution in their pronouncements when dealing with crime matters involving foreign nationals, including Nigerians.
Almost on daily basis, Nigerian nationals living in Ghana are in the bad news of the local media for having committed crime and some other offenses. They are notably associated with kidnappings and armed robbery.
These media attacks have not gone down well with the leadership of the Nigerian Community in Ghana whom they see as a brother.
The Community has since launched a crusade aimed at cleansing their image in the Ghanaian public.
In a statement issued by the Nigeria High Commission to Ghana and signed by Ambassador Olufemi Michael Abikoye, it said “The High Commission does not and will never condone some misguided youth that have taken to criminality as a way of life regardless of nationality, creed or colour. Nigerians or Ghanaians alike stand to be condemned in its totality and punished according to the municipal laws of the land if found guilty. It however, becomes terribly worrisome to take the actions of an insignificant few elements from Nigeria to criminalize and to unfairly or unreasonably canonize a brotherly country like Nigeria as a country of criminals who have come to disturb the peace in Ghana”.
But commenting further on the matter, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee said the concerns of the Nigerian Community have come to their attention and cautioned Ghanaians to treat their fellow Africans with dignity and respect.
“What is happening in the media is not the best. We have had a very wonderful relationship with Nigeria and have not had any bad report. We are being guided by what happened in the past and so treading cautiously. The Committee with oversight responsibility is appealing to the youth and media to be cautious in our pronouncements. We think that crime should be treated as crime. These are two giant countries not just in the West African Sub-region – it goes beyond that. Ghana is respected just as Nigeria. We plead with you the media and we will also engage the High Commissioner to find a very amicable solution to the whole brouhaha. Particularly, we have a large number close to two million Ghanaians living in Nigeria. Apart from diplomatic and bilateral relations, it is just fair that we treat our fellow Africans with dignity and respect. So, we shouldn’t prejudge any arrest. So, let’s all be very careful with what we say and allow the police to do their work”, he noted.
The said meeting with the Nigeria High Commissioner to Ghana, he noted, will be held in the course of the week.
The remarks by Annoh-Dompreh was corroborated by the Ranking Member of the Committee, Samuel Okudzeto who espoused the need for the country to be guided by “issues of 1969 and 1983” so that it doesn’t repeat itself.