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Reps want retaliation against embassy demolition

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The Nigerian House of Representatives says nothing short of retaliation would be necessary to express Nigeria’s grievances over the demolishing of a section of its embassy in Ghana.

The reps while dismissing the call for diplomatic negotiations by the minister of foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama asked that Nigeria should seek retaliation against Ghana over the demolition, which the parliament described as an attack on the country.

Following the outcry generated, the minister said Nigeria had sought security of the embassy, its members of staff and all Nigerians in Ghana, stressing that Nigeria also demanded reparations as quick as possible, among other demands. Consequently, Onyeama said the Ghanaian President had directed that all sealed shops belonging to Nigerian traders be opened to continue business.

But a visibly angry House of Representatives speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said the apology tendered by Ghana was not tenable and that Nigeria must retaliate the attack on its sovereignty.

“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 particular 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 land owners.

“It underscores the point that makes it even worse when we were told that this is the second time it is happening (in Ghana). It happened the first time and they got away with it. And of course they did it again.

“They get away with it this time, they will get away with it the third time. It is just a human behaviour. So, we have established a pattern and what we get is apology and ‘we will look into it.’ I don’t think that should suffice at this point”, he said.

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