Nigerians are not criminals- bemoans Nigerian Envoy

By Stephen Odoi Larbi & Emmanuel Kpeglah - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, His Excellency (H.E) Chief Muslim Obanikoro has expressed concern over how some Ghanaians perceive Nigerians to be criminals, as a result of the act of one person who might have mis-conducted himself.

He attributed this to how some media houses have allowed themselves to be used by a section of the public, in using abusive words against some few miscreants, whenever there was an issue for discussion on their platform saying, “these are contrary to the ethics of the profession”.

The High Commissioner was reacting to various media publications about how a section of the Ghanaian populace describes Nigerians as crooks and rogues, ever since the Amalgamated Bank story attracted media attention.

According to him, he has followed with keen interest the various radio discussions, especially on Joy FM, on the Amalgamated Bank story and the extent to which some Ghanaians have described Nigerians whenever just one of his countrymen flouts the laws of the land (Ghana), which was disheartening.

“The impression being created here is that all Nigerians are criminals. No, Nigerians are not crooks, we are hardworking, honest people and we have demonstrated that wherever we go. There is no institution in both America and Britain that you will not find a Nigerian doing extremely well. Some of our businessmen have distinguished themselves and can rub shoulders with any businessman anywhere around the globe. And this we have achieved through hard work”, he noted.

He emphasized the friendship and cordial relationship that exists between the two countries which he described as “brother and sister”, and that he would not sit unconcerned for some people to jeopardize the relationship the two countries have built over the years.

He gave accounts of how some Nigerians were expelled from Ghana in 1969 and 1981, Nigeria also repeated similar unpleasant act against Ghanaians, a situation he said he would never allow to happen again.

“I can't sit down for God's sake, for such an incident to happen again. If there are issues, let us address them and don't let us generalize. I am here to smoothen and deepen the relations between the two countries and I can not sit back and allow people with ulterior motives to tarnish the image of my country and its citizens”, he said.

The High Commissioner bemoaned the application of fallacy of hasty generalization against Nigerians, labeling them as criminals, which is gaining momentum and therefore called on responsible leadership to put an end to it.

He said his outfit had designed a quarterly meeting with the Nigerian community in the country to help address these issues and to constantly remind them to abide by the laws of Ghana.

He commended President Atta Mills for his stand in ensuring that justice is meted out to all inhabitants in the country, irrespective of nationality, gender, race or colour.

H.E. Obanikoro tasked the media to be up and doing in their reportage by feeding the public with balanced information to enable them make informed decisions.