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Ghana is calling on Nigeria’s president to put an end to “Ghana bashing” by government ministers. It’s the latest in a long history of political twists between these rivalrous West African states.
Ghana’s top diplomat in Abuja said in a letter published Sept. 9 in a Nigerian newspaper that his country was offended by recent comments mocking Ghana’s military and academic community.
“Our concern really is that such reckless and unguarded comments could have grave implications for bilateral relations and derail efforts by leaders of the two countries to forge strong bilateral ties,” wrote Nana Yaw Aboagye of the Ghana High Commission in the Nigerian capital.
“We think President Umaru Yar’Adua should call his ministers to order. The Ghana bashing must stop,” he wrote. “Ghana is a well-respected member of the international community, and deserves respect from Nigerians, particularly top government officials.”
Aboagye cited the Nigerian defense minister’s comments that “the whole of Ghanaian Armed Forces, if you choose to know, is not more than just two brigades of the Nigerian Armed Forces, period.” He said the same minister proclaimed that “the volume of water generated in Ghana is not enough to flush toilets in Lagos State.”
A few months back, it was Nigeria’s top diplomat in Ghana who complained about Nigerians receiving unfair coverage from Ghanaian media. The relationship was marred in the past by irrational immigration policies. Ghana expelled 100,000 foreigners, mostly Nigerians, in 1969, and Nigeria sent 1.2 million Ghanaians packing in the 1980s.
More recently, Nigerian leaders were outspoken in their disappointment of U.S. President Barack Obama’s overnight trip to Ghana. It was Obama’s first presidential stop in sub-Saharan Africa.
Even worse for Nigeria: Ghana has already qualified for next year’s World Cup.
The latest spat is generating serious buzz online. Just the text of the letter posted on a popular news portal, ghanaweb.com, elicited 640 comments by day’s end.