NIGERIA HAS rejected the tagging of its citizens as criminals.
Its officials in Ghana have denounced the use of media platforms to “stoke xenophobia against Nigeria” and expressed concern about its attendant collateral damage.
They said such misinformation branding Nigerians as criminals is an outlandish speech.
Reacting to a video in which the host of a TV programme claimed crimes in Ghana are perpetrated by Nigerians in the country, the Nigerian High Commission, speaking through the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) Ghana Chapter, said: it is “alarmed by unsubstantiated and inciting utterances recently made by Mr. Kwaku Annan, the host of NET 2 Television programme, SEAT SHOW, against Nigerians residing in Ghana and said that could stoke xenophobia against Nigeria.”
At a press conference held at the High Commission building in Accra yesterday, Secretary of NIDO Ghana Chapter, Rev. Tonywhite Meribe, described the labeling of “Nigerians as criminals and notorious armed robbers” as completely malicious and slanderous that is absolutely unacceptable.
He expressed Nigeria’s utmost anger and the strongest condemnation over the statement and added that “We don’t also believe in collective guilt and to impute that, because a Nigerian was involved in a crime, then it translates that all Nigerians have criminality in their DNA, is rather preposterous and contrived.”
“Is it now a crime to be a Nigerian?” he asked rhetorically and said “it is an affront, however, to criminalize our nationality with negative narratives,” intimating that “it is a crime to make false, and inciteful statements capable of putting the lives of law-abiding Nigerians in Ghana at serious risk.”
According to Rev. Meribe, Ghana is a country with functional institutions of high repute, with a competent police service that will not permit criminals to roam the streets of the country, noting that people, irrespective of their nationality, found guilty of crime by Ghanaian courts of competent jurisdiction, should be appropriately prosecuted.
“This has been the position of the Nigeria High Commission which often admonishes Nigerians in Ghana to be law abiding,” he pointed out and added that Nigeria/Ghana relation predates independence and it has enabled various forms of exchanges and cultural ties, cross border trade and marriages, among others.
“The two brotherly countries have for long enjoyed robust relations and it will be in the best interest of Nigerians and Ghanaians not to peddle disharmony that threatens this long existing ties between the two nations by fanning the embers of hatred, capable of causing mistrust between Nigerians and their Ghanaian host.”
“It may interest us to know that the Oxford Business Group alluded to the fact that the relationship between Nigeria and Ghana is crucial for the advancement of the region being the two largest economies in West Africa” Rev. Meribe said.
For him, trade ties are particularly important for both peoples and it is evident that Nigeria’s high liquidity serves as an important source of capital for Ghana, asserting that Nigeria has been a very important source of capital for Ghana over the years and a very important source of investment as well.
Meanwhile, the Dome-Kwabenya Yoruba Community has said it is disheartening for their kind gesture of constructing a police station to be misconstrued as a bribe and indicated that “this gesture is one of 1,000 socioeconomic benefits Nigerians have deemed it fit to give back to our host country.”
In a statement, the Yoruba Community head said they did not think it was viable and economically wise for a right-thinking Nigerian to pay GH¢10,000 every month to cover up crimes supposedly committed by Nigerians as alleged by the TV host.
By Ernest Kofi Adu