By Moses Adeniyi
The Federal Government has stated stated why Nigeria cannot effect a sanction against Ghana over the recent demolition of a building within the Country’s High Commission in Accra, Ghana, stating that Nigeria rather bears blame for not doing the needful.
The Federal Government’s position is widely against the popular outcry for strict sanctions against the Ghanaian Authority over the demolition attack on the Nigeria’s High Mission Commission.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, who made the disclosure in Abuja on Thursday, said Nigeria should be partly blamed for not legalising the demolished property which was acquired about two decades ago.
The Minister disclosed that part of the reasons for the demolition was the failure of successive Nigerian governments to follow the due process of submitting the title deeds of the property as expected.
The Ghanaian president, Nana Akufo-Addo, had on Wednesday tendered an apology to the people and government of Nigeria over the incident, stating that those responsible for the action have been charged to court for immediate arraignment.
The apology backed with a pacifying promise by the Ghanian Authority to rebuild the demolished structure have been lauded by the Nigerian Government which is finding no reason for any sanction.
The Minister stressing that the demolition was carried out by non-state actors, commended the Ghanaian Authority, stating that against the call for sanctions, Nigeria cannot employ punitive measures against her African brother.
The Minister said: “There is a distinction between state actors and non-state actors. We cannot take action against the Ghanian State for what the state was not totally responsible for.
“In this circumstance, the protection given to Nigerian High Commission might not have been of expected standard but other nations of the world had also gone through similar ordeals but the host countries were not held responsible.
“When the United Nations building in Nigeria was attacked by Boko Haram Sect, they did not take it against Nigeria because it was a non-state action.
“There is always such violent actions by non-state actors but we have to engage the government. It is only when the government fails to take necessary steps that actions can be initiated against them.
“So, the actions of non-state actors cannot jeopardize the brother, friendly relationship we have with Ghana. We are satisfied with the action of Ghanian President, and all we have to do is to pursue proper documentation of the building.”
Recall that the Nigerian Presidency on Wednesday had said it will not retaliate to reciprocate similar action of what the Ghanaian nationals did to a part of her embassy in Ghana.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who stated this in an interview in Abuja had said that the decision by the Nigerian government not to retaliate was as a result of the apology tendered by the Ghanaian President over the incident.
This was against the position of the House of Representatives which has been critical about the development, while calling for appropriate sanctions against Ghana.
The Speaker of the House, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, had described the action as an attack and encroachment on the Country’s sovereignty, even as he called on the Presidency to employ the reciprocity principle of foreign relations to retaliate on the development.
The Speaker had said: “If Ghana has a problem and is approaching it through subterranean moves, then what do you think the outcome of the legal proceeding will be? So I think we should pursue it from that angle; I think we should make it clear for the authorities in Ghana that Nigeria is not going to sit down and fold its arms. Reciprocity is a legitimate instrument in foreign relations.
“The doctrine of reciprocity is what should be considered. The Nigerian state was attacked. I think we should look at this thing from the premise that the Nigerian state was attacked. It’s not a building that was demolished. No!
“The Nigerian state was attacked. I think if we look at it from that premise, we will begin to understand the importance and the gravity of what we are dealing with
“We have established a pattern, and what we get (from other countries that attack Nigeria), is apologies, and we
will look into it. I don’t think that should suffice at this point.
“We must put a stop to what has become a perennial problem between Nigeria and Ghana. To me, this is a sibling rivalry between two sister countries, but even in sibling rivalry, there is a line you don’t cross, and they (Ghana) just crossed the line, albeit a second time.”