By Christiana Ekpa
The Speaker House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila has declared the demolition of Nigeria’s embassy building in Ghana as a direct attack on Nigeria as a sovereign nation, saying that an embassy of a country is an extension of her territory and sovereignty.
The Speaker who stated this while addressing the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffry Onyema, on Tuesday in Abuja, also called for retaliatory measures against those who trample upon the diplomatic rights and privileges of Nigerians and Nigeria in foreign land.
According to the Speaker, the situation has become a recurring decimal in the nation’s foriegn policy engagements, adding that many countries within Africa have taken the liberty of hurting Nigerians, while Nigeria looks the other way in the name of brotherhood.
“We all have a responsibility to make sure that we uphold the honour and integrity of the country that we serve.
The Hon. Minister has explained what happened and what they have done or doing, but I think we should look at it from the premise that it was the Nigerian State that was attacked, not just a building.
“In terms of visibility and otherwise of the property, I want to say that it is trite to understand that all countries exist through their Embassies in other countries. So for that reason, Nigeria was attacked by Ghana because if anything happens in Ghana, it’s the Nigerian Embassy that Nigerians will run to and get protection due to the diplomatic immunity that it should enjoy.
“So let’s face it. If the American Embassy was demolished, do you think the US will be asking for apologies and indemnity? Or the UK, Canada or any other Western country, they wont ask for apology”, Gbajabiamila said.
He lamented further saying that “but we have established a pattern here, because from what I heard, this is not the first time it is happening. It happened before and we said we will look into it and then they apologized and we let it go”.
“Others may say that this is a sibling rivalry that is going on between Nigeria and Ghana, and we did nothing, but we must take a stand, because this has gone beyond court processes as the Minister said.
“This diminishes Nigeria as a State because it’s not a land dispute between Nigeria and any individual, but a diplomatic dispute between Nigeria and Ghana which should be handled accordingly, because the person who did this did it under the colour of their law.
“Reciprocity is a legitimate instrument in foreign policy. And we can employ it, because if such had happened here in Nigeria, the individual will first approach the court to enforce his rights, and i want to believe that Ghana is a democratic country where laws apply, but this person didn’t use the law to do this. So it’s purely a predetermined attack on the Nigerian State.
“So we should move away from this idea of gentleman big-brother whom everyone can just trample on and nothing is done.
“South Africa did it, we kept quiet, Ghana has done it, and still doing it, but we want to show diplomatic maturity of asking for apology and claim damages. If this had happened to the British High Commission in Ghana, all hell would have been let loose. I’m telling you this as a matter of fact.
“Because it was Nigeria that was attacked and not Nigerian land or property. But whatever the minister decides to do as far as responses are concerned, the House is here to support you in whatever way necessary”, the Speaker added.
The Minister of foreign Affairs, Geoffry Onyema had earlier informed the Committee on Foriegn Affairs, Chaired by Rep. Yusuf Bubba from Adamawa that diplomatic efforts had gone into resolving the current issue.