Ghana and Nigeria Battle to avoid Diplomatic Row over Demolished Nigerian High Commission Building in Accra

A building belonging to the Nigeria High Commission to Ghana in Accra has been demolished. Though not confirmed, the act is suspected to be linked to a purported unresolved land title issue.

Without claiming responsibility, a statement issued by a Paramount Chief of the Stool land on which the said property of the High Commission has been built, Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona VI, on Monday, June 22 after the incident, argued that the Nigeria High Commission did not have the permission to situate the building on that parcel of land.

“The Osu Stool remains the owner of the said parcel of land and wishes to notify the general public that all other intended users of the property must first seek the permission of the Stool. The Stool informs the general public that there has never been a purchase of any parcel of land from it by the foreign office of the Nigerian High Commission”, the statement said.

Whilst asking the media to research and obtain evidence or support documentation relating to the confirmation of ownership of Osu Stool Lands before reporting on the matter, the statement added: “The Osu Stool was also informed that the structure is planned entertainment complex to be used as an events center for commercial purposes and is not a block of flats as has been purported in the reportage”.  

Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, who was at the scene of the incident with journalists on Monday June  22, apologized to the High Commission of Nigeria to Ghana on behalf of the Ghanaian government whilst assuring the people of the neighboring country of carrying out a thorough investigation into the situation.

“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”, Madam Ayorkor said.

The Minister who would not respond directly to the claims and accusations made by the traditional land owners, retorted that even if it was disputed land, the government expected the persons involved to go to Court, as it is the normal way of dealing with such matters in the country.

In her response to the development, Esther Arewa, Nigeria High Commission’s Charge d’ Affairs, described the situation as traumatic, but was hopeful that the investigation would lead to a better result.

“We look forward to the Ghanaian government apprehending the culprit behind this and bringing him to book and also that within the shortest timeframe, this building is put back up and the premises prepared,” she said.

Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has so far held a meeting with the Acting Nigerian High Commissioner, the top hierarchy of the Police and Military, the Lands Commission and other key stakeholders, including the ‘claiming landowners’ in the matter. And this is hoped to lead to a successful resolution of the issue.