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Stop branding Nigerians as criminals, Ambassador cautions Ghanaians

By Sunday Oyinloye

Against persistent negative reports by Ghanaian media and the outburst of some government officials branding Nigerians living in their country as” bunch of criminals”, Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Olufemi Micheal Abikoye has cautioned Ghanaians against blanket criminalization of Nigerians living in their country.

Abikoye in a Press Statement which he personally signed, a copy of which was made available to Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable condemned continuous reference to Nigerians as criminals even in crimes that have full participation of Ghanaians.

He said it was wrong to take the actions of “insignificant few elements from Nigeria to criminalize and unfairly canonize a brotherly country like Nigeria as a country of criminals who have come to disturb the peace of Ghana.”

According to him, the daily negative reports on Nigerians by the media in Ghana” has caused untold pains, agony and apprehension to the teaming law abiding Nigerians living in Ghana. This set of people comprises astute businessmen, bankers, insurance brokers, students as well as investors. ”

The Ambassador said though the High Commission would not condone any act of criminality on the part of Nigerians living in Ghana, it will also not accept general branding of all Nigerians as criminals.

On the recent kidnap of two Canadians which also led to negative reports on Nigerians by Ghanaians, Abikoye said “a situation where five Ghanaians in company of three Nigerians allegedly kidnapped two Canadians but seems to enjoy wide coverage as a crime committed by Nigerians and considers Ghanaians only as accomplices leaves much to be desired on the objectivity of such report. ”

He therefore cautioned the media in Ghana to be “highly circumspect in their reportage. ”

The Ambassador reminded Ghanaians of the excellent relations that subsist between their country and Nigeria as well as the brotherly love between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo stressing that this should not be jeopardized by xenophobic tendencies.

While cautioning media practitioners in Ghana against media trial, the High Commissioner said whoever commits any crime must face the consequences of his action.

Abikoye assures that the High Commission would continue to mobilize Nigerians living in Ghana to continue to obey domestic laws even as he disclosed that the High Commission is in touch with the host authorities to amicably resolve the issue.

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