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Opinions of Saturday, 27 June 2020

Columnist: Augustine Amenyah

Why Ghana should be ashamed for the demolition of a Nigerian embassy building in Accra

The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 clearly spelt out the obligations of member states and it is hereby reproduced for all Ghanaians to read and educate their fellow citizens.

Article 20 states categorically that the mission and its head shall have the right to use the flag and emblem of the sending State on the premises of the mission, including the residence of the head of the mission, and on his means of transport.

Article 21 states that:

1. The receiving State shall either facilitate the acquisition on its territory, in accordance with its laws, by the sending State of premises necessary for its mission or assist the latter in obtaining accommodation in some other way.

2. It shall also, where necessary, assist missions in obtaining suitable accommodation for their members.

Article 22 states that:

1. The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.

2. The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.

3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

Article 23 states that:

1. The sending State and the head of the mission shall be exempt from all national, regional or municipal dues and taxes in respect of the premises of the mission, whether owned or leased, other than such as represent payment for specific services rendered.

From the above, it is abhorrent that a group of Ghanaians breached the premises of the Nigerian High Commission in Accra without provocation. It is only in Ghana that land disputes and ligations are not settled by the Courts of law but individuals. Why did we go so wrong? Our own laws states that you cannot demolish a building when under construction and has reached the lintel stage.

This was done under a democratically elected Ghana Government headed by a former Minister of Foreign Affairs who has championed regional integration and trade in the West African subregion. What a shame to his legacy.

These are my observations:

It is easy to disrespect the laws of Ghana without any repercussions
Laws in Ghana are not be obeyed but flaunted by anyone who wields perceived authority.

Party affiliates have abrogated to themselves legislative, administrative and adjudicative functions without respect for laws of Ghana.

The rule of law is basically non-existent in Ghana and makes it impossible to uphold basic tenets of the law.

This behaviour of a few will continue because our system of law enforcement is weak.

There is no political will to arrest the situation.

The erosion of law and order and security is likely to continue and might result in colossal losses of human lives if care is not taken to educate and arrest culprits.

Government investigation is not the answer, the answer is appropriate prosecution however, this will likely not happen anytime soon, unfortunately. I cry for mother Ghana for this is not what Nkrumah, Afrifa, Busia, Acheampong, Akuffo, Rawlings, Limann, Kuffuor, Mills and Mahama dreamt would happen to our African brothers and sisters from Nigeria. Sorry, Nigeria. It shall be well.