Leaderships of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Interior and Defence Committee of Parliament have expressed great concern over attempts by some Ghanaians to prejudge crimes allegedly committed by Nigerian residents in the country and reported attack on Nigerians in Kumasi following the kidnapping of two Canadian ladies in Kumasi a fortnight ago.
The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, and his ranking officer, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, at a press briefing in Parliament yesterday, said the trend is becoming very worrying and it has the tendency to mar the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria.
According to the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ghana and Nigeria have a long standing relationship economically, socially and culturally.
He said currently there are two million Ghanaians living in Nigeria and conversely seven million Nigerians are living in Ghana who are contributing to the respective economies of the two countries and that if Ghanaians start any xenophobic attacks on Nigerians it will have dire consequences on fellow Ghanaians living in Nigeria.
According to Mr. Annoh-Dompreh, who is also the MP for Nsawam/Adoagyiri, there are genuine Nigerians living and working in Ghana who are law-abiding and contributing positively to the economy of the country.
He said in the face of recent reported crimes involving some Nigerians in the country and the tension that is being created between Ghanaians and Nigerians in the country, the Foreign Affairs Committee is planning to invite the High Commissioner of Nigeria to Ghana for a dialogue and see the way forward as to how this tension could be eased and the relationship between the two countries further strengthened.
The ranking member, Mr Ablakwa, who is also the MP for North Tongu, emphasized the need for Ghanaians not to tag all Nigerians as criminals. He stressed that if a Nigerian committed a crime he or she should be dealt with according to the laws of the country.
He said Ghana and Nigeria have historic relationship that has produced huge symbiotic benefits and so Ghanaians especially the media should be careful in reporting cases of crime involving Nigerians and stop stereotyping Nigerians.
The vice-chairman of the Interior and Defence Committee of Parliament, Collins Owusu Amankwah, said crime does not have ‘colours’ and advised Ghanaians to treat criminals as criminals and not whether they are Ghanaians or Nigerians.
He, however, advised foreigners in the country to be law-abiding residents and respect the laws of the country.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr