In 1961, France tested an atomic bomb in the Sahara Desert, after all, who owns Sahara Desert. Africans kept quiet, many of them didn’t even know what happened, and those who did, didn’t know how to react. France was a god. How do you confront a god.
Interestingly, the French president at that time was a man whose sign-off note was “celui qui dit non” a tough nut named Charles de Gaulle. Nigeria rose to the occasion, not yet a year after independence, and vehemently condemned that act.
Nigeria went ahead to rally African countries together and Africa had a united stand in condemning the French, and also reported to the United Nations. France was reprimanded. And the occupants of Élycée Palace, and our francophone neighbours were flabbergasted, they never thought it possible that any African country could confront their god. Nigeria has crossed the line, but Nigeria did not care.
There was a country.
I read with dismay the manner some federal government officials informed us that President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana has called President Muhammadu Buhari to apologise for the demolition of a building in the Nigerian High Commission in Accra.
They are even hyping it as if it something worth acknowledging. As if that was not enough, one Foreign Affairs official (who once called me an unrepentant critic of Nigeria’s foreign policy at a small dinner in one of Nigeria’s embassies abroad few years ago, thinking I would melt because the Minister of Foreign Affairs was there), sent me a DM that the Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama had summoned Iva Denoo, the Ghanian Chargé d’ Affaires in Nigeria to explain how yet to be identified person demolished a Nigerian diplomatic building in Ghana last Friday.
President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana claiming that he has directed full investigation into the incident is not enough. The story that some suspects had been arrested and will be arraigned in court is rubbish.
This is a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations whose Article 22 regards the premises of a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy, as inviolable and that must not be entered by the host country except by permission of the head of the mission.
Moreso, this is a country that dragged Nigeria to ECOWAS, African Union, African Development Bank, and also the United Nations last year for Nigeria’s unilateral shutting down of its borders. They cried to heavens that it was in violation of ECOWAS protocol on free movements of goods and persons.
Yet same country had over the last five years, engaged in backhand strategies aimed at emasculating Nigerian businesses in their country, creating a very unlevel playing ground that were heavily advantageous to their business people against Nigerians.
What did their government do when the Ghana Union of Trade Associations, GUTA insisted and got law mandating any foreigner wishing to engage in trade in Ghana to show proof of having a deposit of US$300,000 in his or her company account or goods equivalent to that amount in stock before he could be allowed to engage in businesses in their country.
Was this obnoxious legislation not a negation of the revised ECOWAS protocol on free trade and integration of markets? Did they not hire thugs who went around destroying and attacking Nigerian owned businesses even when the authorities were yet to fashion out how the law would be implemented?
What did their government do when Nigerians lost billions and cried out for help and protection?
How many Lebanese, Indian, or Chinese owned businesses were mandated to show proof of meeting the terms and conditions stipulated by that law? Why didn’t they extend that benefit of doubts to Nigerians?
The Nigerian government should first accept the apologies, but inform them that what happened in Accra was a direct attack on Nigeria (and that is what it is because diplomatically speaking, that compound is a Nigerian territory). And that Nigeria is not going to take it lightly. Nigeria has no business with whosoever was responsible for the attack and demolition of the High Commission building that is a Ghanaian problem.
This is the time to give Ghana conditions for this sacrilegious incident, and the conditions, government must find a way to bring to the table, the maltreatment of Nigerian businesses in that country.
Because whosoever had the guts to send bulldozers into Nigerian territory did so against the background of the anti Nigerian sentiments which has been the mantra of President Nana Akufo-Addo and his Party since coming to power.
Nigeria should escalate this beyond the level it presently is. Then leave Ghana to do the homework of de-escalating it by meeting our conditions. That is how SERIOUS countries send signals notifying neighbours of their seriousness.
When a Lion roars, he communicates many things. But the most important footnote in that roaring is that if you can hear me, you are in my territory.
There was a country.