The House of Representatives has faulted the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on the claim that Ghana has apologised to Nigeria on the demolition of buildings of the Nigerian Embassy in the country.
The House, while dismissing the call for diplomatic negotiations by the minister, asked that Nigeria should reciprocate the demolition, which the parliament described as an attack on the country.
Onyeama had appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in Abuja on Tuesday, where he was being grilled over demolition of the buildings.
Earlier in his presentation, the minister told the lawmakers that there was an invasion and building in the embassy premises was demolished by non-state actors.
He also said the time it took for the Ghanaian authorities to respond to distress calls made by officials at the embassy “is extremely troubling and troubling.”
Onyeama further said the traditional ruler in the area claimed that the property belonged to him, saying that there is no justification for the leader to take laws into his hands.
He also informed the House that the President of Ghana had directed that decisive and severe measure be taken to settle the matter.
Onyema said the legal status of the property will be looked into before further actions will be taken.
He added that Nigeria had sought the security of the embassy, its members of staff, and all Nigerians in Ghana.
The minister also said the Government of Ghana is very remorseful and had apologised profusely for the invasion.
Responding to Onyeama, Gbajabiamila dismissed the apology the minister said had been tendered to Nigeria by Ghana.
The speaker said, “We all have the responsibility to make sure that we uphold, very simply, the honour and glory of the country we serve. Honourable minister, let me commend you for your efforts so far; what you’ve done and what you’ve been doing.
“I think we should look at this thing from the premise that the Nigerian state was attacked. It was not a building that was demolished, no; the Nigerian state was attacked. I think if we look at it from that premise, we will begin to understand or underscore the importance or gravity of what we are dealing with.
“In terms of immunity and inviolability, in terms of diplomacy, it also extends to property. We are not just talking about the states. It is trite that the embassy of any country is actually the state – a sovereign location in that, particularly foreign country. That is why if there is any problem in Nigeria today, all the Americans will run to the American Embassies to seek shelter because you cannot even move near there.
“So, from that point of view, we need to address this in that context that Nigeria was attacked. I’m not interested in the land dispute, it is not an ordinary land dispute. It is not! It has now metamorphosed into dispute between two countries, not by landowners.”
Gbajabiamila said if it were the United States’ embassy that was demolished in Ghana, “do we think the US would be talking about apology or ‘we will look into it’?”
He also said the US and the United Kingdom would not have taken it lightly with Nigeria if their embassies were tampered with in Nigeria.