The Nigerian High Commission in Ghana has condemned the Ghanaian Media for what it terms as an attack on its citizens.
It has accused the Ghanaian media of demonising its nationals through wide spread negative reportage.
The Commission has therefore advised the media and the public to be circumspect with their reports and commentary on alleged crimes committed by Nigerians living in Ghana.
There has been a recent spate of kidnappings of which some Nigerians have been arrested in connection with those crimes.
Nonetheless, the Commission, in a statement signed by Ambassador Olufemi Michael Abikoye said it is unfair for all Nigerians in Ghana to be branded criminals.
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Below is the full statement
Since the last Press Release of the Nigeria High Commission dated April 16, 2019 on the Maltreatment of Nigerian nationals deported from Ghana to Nigeria, its attention has been drawn to the daily negative media reportage being melted out against Nigeria and describing Nigerians in Ghana as a bunch of criminals.
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The Ghanaian Press, both print and electronic as well as Social media seems to have enjoyed a field day in demonizing Nigeria which for all intent and purpose, is seen as a fraternal brother to Ghana.
Captions such as Kidnapping in Ghana: Data shows Nigerians are largely involved in the menace, Two Nigerians shot dead in Upper West, Five Nigerians nabbed for armed robbery, Nigerians attempting to kidnap 4-year old boy at Maimobi as well as the unresolved kidnapping of Three Ghanaian girls in Takoradi, kidnapping of the Honorary Consul and Head of Mission of Estonia to Ghana, kidnapping of an Indian businessman and the kidnapping of Two Canadian girls in Kumasi recently rescued, have become a worrisome daily reportage which has caused untold pains, agony as well as apprehension to the teeming law abiding Nigerians living in Ghana. This set of people comprises astute businessmen, bankers, insurance brokers, teeming students as well as investors that are daily trooping to Ghana.
2. 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 Nigerians to criminalize and to unfairly or unreasonable canonize a brotherly country like Nigeria as a country of criminals who have come to disturb the peace in Ghana.
3. Suffice to say that at times like this, a situation where five (5) Ghanaians in company of three (3) Nigerians allegedly kidnapped two (2) Canadians but seems to enjoy wider press coverage as a crime committed by the Nigerians and considers Ghanaians only as accomplices leave much to be desired on the objectivity of such report. In the light of the above, the High Commission wishes to appeal to the local traditional media and social media to be highly circumspect in such reportage.
4. This has become highly imperative in view of its larger implications on Nigerians living in Ghana and Ghanaians living in Nigeria as well. Moreover, the excellent relations that subsist between Nigeria and Ghana as maternal brotherly countries under His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and his brother, President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo can never be allowed to be jeopardized by Xenophobic tendencies over such intents.
5. In effect, the ongoing media trial of the criminals which was now being turned media trial of Nigeria as a country, calls for moderation on the part of media practitioners in Ghana. Moreover, such media trials could be seen as prejudicial to the outcome of the ongoing prosecution in court which sees them as innocent until proven guilty. On this note, the Nigeria High Commission wishes to reiterate its stand that whoever commits crime and is found guilty must face the consequences of his/her action. On its part, the High Commission will continue to mobilize all Nigerians living in Ghana to obey the domestic laws. The High Commission is also in touch with all relevant host authorities with a view to amicably resolve the issue.
Amb. Olufemi Michael Abikoye