Maybe before the Dean and Director of Academic Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC), Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso, impetuously weigh in on the side of the Nigerian High Commissioner/Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Michael Olufemi Abikoye, on the sticky question of the purported criminalization or demonization and stereotyping of Nigerians for a greater percentage of the most serious crimes committed in the country against native-born Ghanaian citizens, it would be very instructive for the locally renowned security analyst to question the fact of whether Nigerians are the only non-Ghanaians , or foreigners, for want of a better terminology, resident in the country.
Then also, Dr. Antwi-Danso may as well want to study the crime statistics churned out annually by personnel of the Ghana Police Service (GPS), and the proportional distribution or percentage breakdown of the same, according to the origins or the nationalities of the perpetrators. If he did, I am very certain that he would promptly sober up, sit up and realize that, after all, contrary to what Ambassador Abikoye would have Ghanaians and the rest of the world believe, criminal profiling by the media, especially where the rampancy of serious crimes is involved, is prevalent all over the world (See “Nigeria [sic] High Commissioner Was Right – Security Expert” Modernghana.com 6/19/19).
You see, instead of Nigerian leaders like Ambassador Abikoye taking responsibility squarely for the uniquely high incidence of acts of criminality among members of the Nigerian community in Ghana, he prefers that Ghanaian media operatives ignore this clearly deliberate attempt by some Nigerian nationals resident in Ghana to make life inexcusably ungovernable for Ghanaians and other law-abiding non-Ghanaian residents in the country by these Nigerian-born perps and criminal masterminds. Make no mistake: nobody is questioning the indisputable fact that there is a remarkable number of Nigerian-born residents in Ghana who are “astute businessmen, bankers, insurance brokers, teaming students [whatever the latter expression means] as well as investors.”
Of course, it goes without saying that so are a sizeable number of other foreign nationals, both African and non-African, resident in Ghana diligently and legitimately engaged in positive and profitable ventures, an overwhelming majority of whom are not engaged in the sort of acts of criminality whose perpetrators are predominantly or overwhelmingly known to be of Nigerian nationality or origin. Dr. Antwi-Danso may also be well aware of the fact that Nigerian nationals resident in South Africa have been known to have acquired the same level of criminal notoriety that they seem to be fast gaining in Ghana. Now, is this sheer coincidence or it may directly be correlative with the culture and/or national character of the forensically established identities of these indicted and/or convicted perps?
In other words, Ambassador Abikoye merely begs the question of whether or not the justifiable media profiling of Nigerian-born hardened professional criminals is a pure fabrication without any basis in fact or reality. I have already written and published a couple of columns underscoring the patently mundane and easily verifiable fact of Nigerians having acquired equal notoriety here in the United States. Has the Nigerian Ambassador to Washington, DC, cautioned the American media to desist from singling out Nigerians, among the totality of Africans resident in the United States, for special scoring or demonization?
If, indeed, Nigeria were as stable, peaceful and relatively crime-free as Ambassador Abikoye seems to be suggesting, why is there at least four times the number of Ghanaians living in Nigeria of Nigerians living in Ghana? Put into simple English, there are at least four times more Nigerians living in Ghana than there are Ghanaians living in Nigeria. Now, what this means is that Ghana may very well be providing a far better quality of life for these Nigerian residents than the latter get or receive in their own country of birth. I come across Nigerians every day who readily tell me that in Nigeria, one cannot step outside the sacred comfort of one’s home after 6 pm, due to wanton acts of criminality routinely perpetrated by a sizeable mass of professional criminals. Which is not, in any way, to say that Ghana is an existential paradise. No such observation could be further/farther from the truth.
Nevertheless, the preceding observation deserves critical examination. You see, Nigerian politicians like Ambassador Abikoye would be making a grievous and gross miscalculation, if they think that they can bully, intimidate or ride roughshod over their Ghanaian counterparts, just because we are a very small country with a population the size of which is barely 20-percent of Nigeria’s estimated 200 million people. Ambassador Abikoye can also reject the fact that the professional enterprise of kidnapping and demanding ransoms may be uniquely Nigerian, like “Okada Taxis,” which are fast gaining a foothold on the Ghanaian transportation market. But, of course, even as the age-old maxim goes: “Everybody is inalienably entitled to her/his opinion, but facts are sacred and inviolable.”
In other words, Ambassador Abikoye can scream, rant and thrash about all he wants to, but he must be rest assured that Ghanaian media operatives have the facts and figures to back up their “stereotypical” profiling of Nigerian-born criminal perps in our country and will prepared to do so any day when they are dared to it. And so do the Americans. And oh, the South Africans as well.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
June 19, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]