The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has warned the media against negative reportage on Nigerians living in Ghana.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, on Tuesday, he appealed to the media to be circumspect in their reportage to maintain calm.
Tensions have been brewing since a Nigerian man was identified as the kidnapper of the three missing girls in Takoradi and four more were arrested in connection with the kidnapping of two Canadian women in Kumasi.
Most news reports have branded Nigerians living in Ghana as criminals even though only a few have been caught in such cases.
“The media reportage appears to be reaching fever pitch and if care is not taken the matter could escalate. If care is not taken there could be a tit for tat which could jeopardize the relations between Ghana and Nigeria. We are also appealing to all sections, including the High Commission and the media to be very circumspect and measured in their reportage,” he said. He also assured that the government is working to make sure Ghanaians are safe.
“We step out today in a bipartisan manner to address the media to ask for calm to assure the general public that the people’s representative, the Parliament of Ghana is taking a serious look at this matter and we are taking action,” he said.
The Nigerian High Commission in Ghana has expressed anger over the nature of reportage of crimes involving Nigerians which it says exhibits some form of xenophobia.
The High Commission in a statement said “xenophobic tendencies” had the potential to mar Ghana-Nigeria relations.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Micheal Olufemi Abikoye, referenced reports involving Nigerians and criminal activity; including the recent kidnapping of two Canadians in Kumasi.
The involvement of Nigerians in high profile crimes has caused some resentment for Nigerians in Ghana.
“The Ghanaian press, both print and electronic, as well as social media, seems to have enjoyed a field day in demonising Nigeria which for all intent and purposes, is seen as a fraternal brother to Ghana,” the statement noted.
The High Commission maintains that this line of reportage “has caused untold pains, agony as well as apprehension” to Nigerians in Ghana.
Parliament has subsequently invited officials of the High Commission for a discussion over the statement.