Do not make judgmental comments about Nigerians – MP cautions
Mr Frank Annor-Dompreh, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, has appealed to Ghanaians and the Media to refrain from making some prejudiced comments and reportage against Nigerian nationals living in Ghana.
Such biased statements and comments, he said had the tendency to damage the long standing and cherished relationship between Ghana and Nigeria which dated back to many decades.
Mr Annor-Dompreh who was speaking to the Media in Parliament on recent media publications on the involvement of some Nigerians in high profile crimes, including the kidnapping of the two Canadian girls, said it had caused hatred for Nigerians living in Ghana.
Nigerian High Commission in Accra reacted to the news with a News statement that expressed concerns about the nature of reportage of crimes involving Nigerians, which demonstrated some form of xenophobia.
According to the Nigerian High Commissioner’s statement, the media reports on Nigerians and their biases had the potential to mar Ghana-Nigeria relations.
Mr Annor-Dompreh said some recent pronouncements in the media on Nigerian nationals were not the best, adding that Ghanaians, especially the youth and Media must be measured in their comments on such issues.
He urged the media to be circumspect in tagging Nigerians living in Ghana with activities of criminality.
“Any arrest, which has been made by the police, we will urge the police, and we also knowing that the Ghanaian Police are going to do their work dispassionately. Let respect the police, let us not precede prejudging the case that is reported in the media,” he said.
Mr Annor-Dompreh also announced that the Committee on Foreign affairs has invited the Nigerian High Commissioner in Accra to a meeting within this week to discuss issues at stake. .
He said there is no cause for Ghanaians to worry about the Ghana-Nigeria relations, adding that they would engage the High Commissioner and find amicable solution to the problem.
He said people who commit crime, regardless of their nationality should be treated as criminals.
Mr Annor-Dompreh further noted that apart from diplomatic relations, there were closed to two million Ghanaians living in Nigeria and about seven million Nigerians living in Ghana.
He said it is was fair to treat fellow Africans with dignity, adding that the police should be allowed to do their work.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Ranking Member on the Committee of Foreign Affairs, supported the Chairman’s position and stated that it was a bi-partisan approach to addressing this issue.
He said the Leadership of the Committee on Foreign Affairs was of the view that it was sensitive matter and as such had to come together in the crucial time to resolve the issues.
Mr Ablakwa said Ghana and Nigeria had long standing historic and ancestral relations and had so many things in common.
He said the Foreign Affairs Committee is getting increasingly concerned about the tone and the reportage, and what is going on social media, and cautioned that if care was not taken it could trigger and jeopardize the long standing Ghana-Nigeria relations.
“We do not want the start of any xenophobic attack, no matter where they may start from whether in Ghana or Nigeria. There is so much that we both have to lose” he added.
Mr Ablakwa also called on Ghanaians to be guided by history of the events that happened in 1969 and 1983 where nationals from both countries were deported.
He called for calm and caution among the people that the public should not engage in anything that would lead to an escalation of the issue.