The Nigerian government has denied reports that there is a brewing diplomatic row over Ghana’s decision to evict the West African country’s envoy from his Accra residence.
Some media outlets reported on Thursday, January 2, 2020, that a diplomatic ruckus was imminent following Ghana’s decision to forcefully remove Nigeria High Commissioner, Olufemi Michael Abikoye, from his residence located at No.10 Barnes Road in Accra.
The media outlets referenced an alleged statement by Mr Abikoye, dated December 31 2019, in which he is reported as saying that a Ghanaian company, Amaco Microfinance Company Limited, had instructed the High Commission “to vacate its diplomatic property at No.10 Barnes Road, Accra.”
According to the report, the property had been reallocated to Amaco Microfinance since August 26, 2019, by Ghana’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources with the consent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
“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,” Accra-based Citi FM quoted from the said statement from Mr Abikoye.
But Nigerian-based online portal, Legit.ng, reported Thursday evening that a Spokesperson for the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ferdinand Nownye, has denied the reports that Ghana sent the Nigerian envoy packing.
“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,” Legit.ng quoted Mr Nwonye as saying.
The Nigerian news outlet further stated that Mr Nwonye explained that the said property located on 10, Barnes Road in Accra is just one of the official quarters of the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana.
According to the report, Mr Nwonye explained that the property had a lease agreement signed between the Nigerian Ministry of Finance and Ghana, which expired in August 2019 and hence the Ghanaian government decided to lay claim to the property.
Meanwhile, Mr Abikoye is also alleged to have said that the reallocation of the property was done ”without recourse to the [Nigerian] High Commission.”