The Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has described as unacceptable the demolition of a property at the residence of the Nigeria High Commission in Ghana by some unknown armed men.
He said the act is one of aggression perpetrated by the people of Ghana against the Nigerian state.
Reacting to a report by the Foreign Affairs Minister of Nigeria, Geoffrey Onyeama, conveying the apologies of Ghana to Nigeria for the incident, the Speaker of the House said apologies do not suffice and that the issue be put into perspective.
“It was 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 or underscore the importance or gravity of what we are dealing with.
“In terms of immunity and inviolability, in terms of diplomacy, it also extends to property. We are not just talking about the states. It is trite that the embassy of any country is actually the state – a sovereign location in that particular foreign country” he said.
While acknowledging and appreciating the effort of the Foreign Affairs Minister in leading a diplomatic engagement with Ghana on resolving the matter, the Speaker said the issue must be viewed and dealt with from the point of Nigeria being attacked, rather than merely a land dispute.
According to the Speaker, it is the second time such an attack has happened and he believes it will happen the third time if they do not take “sterner” actions.
“It underscores the point that makes it even worse when we were told that this is the second time it is happening (in Ghana). It happened the first time and they got away with it. And of course they did it again. They get away with it this time, they will get away with it the third time. It is just a human behaviour. So, we have established a pattern and what we get is apology and ‘we will look into it.’ I don’t think that should suffice at this point”, he said.
Mr. Gbajabiamila questions if an apology would have been enough if the United States of America or the United Kingdom or any of the super powers had their embassies attacked whether in Ghana or in Nigeria. In his own words, “hell will let lose”, should such a thing happen.
For him, the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria with all the matters arising is like a “sibling rivalry” between “sister countries” but he says Ghana has gone beyond the bounds.
“To me this is like sibling rivalry between sister countries and even in sibling rivalry there is a line you just don’t cross, there is a line you just don’t cross and they just cross the line”, he observed.
He thus wants Nigeria to puts aside diplomacy and deal with the matter with a bit more aggression.
“Let’s be a bit more stern, let’s be a bit more aggressive in our approach, the days of trying to be a gentleman and diplomatic, I think we should put that aside, especially because it is happening for the second time, you can excuse the first time but when it happens for the second time, something sterner needs to happen”, he advised.
Even though the speaker says he is trying to reach the speaker of parliament in Ghana for them to see the way forward, he insists the issue should not be resolved in Ghana courts.