…insist culprits must be severely punished
The House of Representatives has insisted that the Ghanaians responsible for the invasion of the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana and the demolition of property within the premises of the high Commission must be punished appropriately.
The lower House insisted that the culprits must be fished out and made to face the law.
The House described the invasion and demolition as an invasion of Nigeria’s territorial integrity and a gross violation of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations among nations of the world, insisting that Ghana must be made to face the consequences of their action and inaction.
Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Yusuf Buba Yakub, who made the position of the House known in a statement in Abuja, said allowing the matter to go like that may spell greater doom for Nigeria and Nigerians in future.
He said the House Committee was left with no other choice than “to rise to truly investigate what happened in Accra, Ghana and sanction that country appropriately, however we can. At our own level as an integral part of the Parliament, the Committee reiterates that we shall continue our search until we receive a satisfying answer on this issue.
“To allow this issue pass, like other acts of undue and unsolicited aggressions against Nigerians and their properties in foreign jurisdictions, may as well spell greater doom for us in the future. Ghana must face, anyhow, the consequences of its action and, indeed, inaction.”
He lamented that there had been a conspiracy of silence from the Ghanaian authority over the invasion and the pulling down 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 Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana in the mission premises, by unknown persons who broke into the premises at odd hour with high capacity bulldozers.
He said, “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 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.
“Our Committee reliably gathered that the present Nigeria Mission in Accra ,Ghana, is located on 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 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.
“Consequent upon the above gross violations of the articles and spirit of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs wishes to state vehemently 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.
“We also make bold to equivocally add that this gross violation by the Ghanaian nationals and their colluding authorities constitutes a serious breach of the Vienna Convention that have the capacity to cause a diplomatic row and escalate tension between our country and Ghana.
“By their action and, indeed, inaction, which makes the authorities complicit in the act, the Ghanaian people violated several articles of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1949 and, therefore, must be sanctioned.”
Hon Yakub further said that Article 1(i) of Vienna Convention, specifically, recognises the facts that the Nigerian High Commission in Accra, Ghana, is the premises of the Nigerian state, Article 22 (1) of the same Convention “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)”.
He said further that as a Parliament, the House of Representatives would “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.
The Committee asked other diplomatic nations to condemn this act of aggression by the Ghanaian people against the Federal Republic of Nigeria on its soil and to stand with Nigeria in every campaign it choose to undertake to make Ghana account for its violation of the international code of friendship against Nigeria.
He said further that rather than rising to protect the Nigeria mission, the Ghanaian authority “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 enjoy the same inviolability and protection as the premises of the mission.
“We have asked ourselves the golden question for the umpteenth time: What offence did our High Commission in Ghana commit to warrant the flagrant display of sheer brutal force against a helpless mission seeking to bring its staff within the same precinct? Nobody is saying anything in Ghana.
“There seems to be at present a sustained conspiracy of silence that is being deployed to wear us out. But we cannot let this one pass silently in the name of diplomacy from a big- brother nation as in the past. Our High Commissioner must be made to return home by the Executive for consultation.
“We also call on the Executive to invite the Ghana High Commissioner to Nigeria to provide answers to questions in our minds. It is time we stopped other countries of the world from making us the butt of their frustration and national strife.
“Since we know that the land upon which our mission sits in Ghana was officially allocated to us by the necessary Ghanaian authorities after we had fulfilled all prerequisites in the bid for acquisition of same and that there are no known litigations or counterclaims to legal titles in possession of the Nigeria mission in Accra, we may be inclined to ask whether there exist any outstanding commitments, upon which settlement the mission has reneged on?”