The Ghanaian government says Nigeria did not have the required documents for the land on which a building was demolished in Accra.
You may recall how the Ghanaian government broke into the premises of the Nigerian high commission in Ghana and pulled down some apartments under construction.
President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana has called his Nigerian counterpart to apologize over the incident.
In a statement, Shirley Botchwey, Ghana’s foreign affairs minister, said during investigation, it was discovered that although Nigeria paid for the land in 2000, it could not present a land title certificate.
Botchwey said the certificate had been issued to Nigeria, reemphasizing that the demolished structure would be rebuilt.
“Following the incident regarding the breach of the premises of the High Commission of Nigeria, located at 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, Ringway Estates, East Ridge, Accra, on Friday, 19th June 2020 at about 23:00 hours, a committee comprising officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Lands Commission, National Security Secretariat, and the Ghana Police Service was constituted to investigate the incident and make appropriate recommendations,” she said.
“The High Commission of Nigeria presented letter referenced SCR/LCS 74/VOL.2/95 dated 7th August 2000, granting allocation and right of entry to the High Commission, a 4-acre parcel of land in the Accra Osu Mantse Layout. The High Commission of Nigeria further presented receipts of payments on the said land, made by Bankers Draft payable to the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission. However, Land Title Certificate had not been issued to the High Commission.
“The Lands Commission stated that the said 4-acre parcel of land is part of vested land which is owned by the Osu Stool and managed by the Lands Commission. In June 2019, the Osu Stool requested the Greater Accra Regional Lands Commission to grant a lease in respect of a part of the said land to a third party.
“The Lands Commission revealed that a letter referenced AC 14826 of 4th July 2019, signed by the Regional Lands Officer and addressed to the High Commission of Nigeria, informed that the Osu Stool had requested the Lands Commission to grant a lease to a third party on the land in question. The Lands Commission, therefore, advised the High Commission of Nigeria to provide relevant documents on ownership of the land, but the former did not receive any response.
“Based on the silence of the High Commission of Nigeria, the Lands Commission went ahead and issued a Land Title Certificate covering the said parcel of land to a third party. The Lands Commission has confirmed that the letter of 7th August 2000, presented by the High Commission of Nigeria granting allocation and right of entry to the High Commission, was genuine and, indeed, emanated from its Head Office.”
Botchwey said the government of Ghana would engage those laying claim to the land so that the issue would be resolved amicably.
She said those arrested over the breach of the premises of the high commission of Nigeria were still being investigated, adding that the investigators would expedite action “given the delicate nature of the matter and its potential ramifications on Ghana–Nigeria relations”.