Nigeria: Deportations - Nigeria, Ghana Inch Towards Resolving Diplomatic Row

31 March 2019

In a move to halt further threat to Nigeria-Ghana relations, the Comptroller General of Ghana Immigration Service, Kwame Asuah Takyi, has paid a reconciliatory visit to his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammad Babandede, to discuss the way forward.

The visit is coming barely one week after the federal government, in what many considered a retaliatory move, ordered the deportation of four Ghanaian nationals following what it attributed to their violation of some immigration rules.

LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that Takyi, who was accompanied by the Ghana High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Rashid Bawa, arrived at the National Headquarters of the Nigeria Immigration Service on Friday, March 29, at exactly 10am, where they held a closed-door meeting

When contacted, NIS Babandede, who confirmed the meeting, said details of a further meeting were being worked out by the ministers of interior and foreign affairs of Nigeria and Ghana.

"There is no cause for alarm as both countries will resolve pressing issues diplomatically," he said.

The NIS had last week revealed that it had deported four Ghanaian nationals for violating various provisions of the Immigration Act and Regulations. The deportation had been ordered by the ministry of interior.

The affected Ghanaians, Florence Donkur, Simon Gyan, Yeboah Collins and Alhaji Isa, are said to be officials of the Ghanaian high commission. They were deported to their country of origin via Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on March 22, 2019.

LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that Nigeria's High Commissioner to Ghana, Michael Abikoye, had sometime in February this year raised the alarm over what he described as illegal and unfair deportation of over 723 innocent Nigerians residing in Ghana in 2018 alone.

The ambassador had also personally led a protest against mass deportation of about 232 Nigerians between January and February, 2019, on watery allegations of illegal stay, cyber-crime, prostitution and other social vices.

The Nigerian envoy had during the protest in Ghana said, "81 Nigerians were deported on alleged cyber-crime and illegal stay in January, while 115 have so far been deported in February on the allegation of overstay and prostitution."

There are insinuations that the March 22 deportation of the four Ghanaian officials was not unconnected to federal government's rebuke and objection to the illegal removal of its citizens on watery grounds.

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