The Nigerian government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reacted to the report of forceful eviction of Nigeria High Commission in Accra, Ghana.
The Ministry said the High Commission was neither evicted from its chancery nor its residence but from one of its official quarters in Accra.
Spokesman of the Ministry, Ferdinand Nwonye, was quoted by The Sun to have explained that the property sited on 10, Barnes Road, Accra, Ghana, is one of the official quarters of the High Commission.
Nwonye explained further that the lease agreement signed between the Nigerian Ministry of Finance and Ghana expired in August 2019.
The Spokesperson said, however, that the Ghanaian government ought to have informed Nigeria of the expiration of the lease, but instead decided to take over the property.
“We are working on it; there is no cause for alarm. It is not our chancery, not our residence, it is just one of our official quarters and has been unoccupied for some time. Though we have some items inside it, no one is occupying it,” Nwonye said.
The Nigeria High Commissioner to Ghana, Michael Olufemi Abikoye, had in a statement dated 31st December 2019 alleged a forceful eviction by Ghana authorities.
The statement added that a terse letter dated 27th December 2019, was received from Solicitors acting on behalf of Amaco Microfinance Company Limited, Accra, “giving instructions for the High Commission to vacate its diplomatic property at No.10 Barnes Road, Accra.
“The letter further stressed that; failure to comply within the stipulated time will lead to depositing the Mission’s belongings at the nearest Accra police station.”
While giving the latest update on the property, Abikoye said: “as at 31st December 2019, the property has been broken into by the company and is being ransacked with the likelihood of being effectively occupied.”
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to convey an appropriate response to the Ghanaian leadership regarding the reallocation and request for vacating of the diplomatic property.
Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims that the Nigerian Government failed to renew the property following expiration thus, “the property reverted to the state in compliance with Article 258 of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.”
However, Abikoye expressed surprise that the reallocation was done “ without recourse to the High Commission” despite having requested severally for “a mutual resolution of the matter, affirming that Nigerian Government is examining the situation and that an appropriate directive was being awaited.”