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Ghana police begin investigation into demolition of Nigerian High Commission

The part-bulldozed structure near the Nigerian High Commission

The part-bulldozed building

The Ghana Police Service has called for calm between Ghanaians and Nigerians following the demolition of a structure adjoining the Nigeria High Commissioner’s residence in Accra.

A building described as an uncompleted block of flats, located in premises adjoining the residence, was demolished on Friday 19 June.

A group of armed men reportedly stormed the property with bulldozers to bring down the structure.

The demolition was said to be linked to a land ownership struggle between the Commission and the Osu Traditional Area.

The development has created tension, with the Nigerian government strongly condemning the act.

Security beefed up

In a statement, the Ghana Police Service said it has dispatched armed personnel to guard the demolition scene.

The police said they have launched an investigation into the matter and promised to apprehend the culprits.

“Police are investigating the demolition of a structure adjoined to the residence of the Nigerian High Commission in Accra and therefore urge the public, especially Nigerian nationals, to remain calm,” the statement read.

“…following report of the demolition, armed guards have been provided at the incident scene while investigation continues,” it added.

On Monday, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, described the demolition of sections of the High Commission as “criminal”.

Posting on Twitter, Onyeama called on the Ghanaian government to take urgent action and provide protection for all staff of the High Commission.

Breaching convention

Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, and President Akufo-Addo have both apologised for the incident.

Ms Botchwey said the development was unfortunate and a breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR, 1961).

Visiting the scene on Monday, Ms Botchwey said the country is “sorry this has happened”.

She said that the demolition was “not a government-sanctioned activity” and condemned the intrusion.

“The relations between our two countries are too strong, even if there is any kind of dispute, for it to end in something like this. This shouldn’t happen between Ghana and Nigeria,” Ms Botchwey said.

E A Alanore

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