The Economic Fighters League (Fighters), has condemned what they described as the branding of Nigerians and other African nationals in Ghana as criminals.
“We have observed with dismay the continuous criminalisation of our fellow Africans from Nigeria and other countries,” Fighter-General Hardi Yakubu said in a statement on Monday, 17 June 2019.
Mr Yakubu noted that: “If some [Nigerians] are found breaking the law, they must be dealt with through the due process of the law, rather than used as the yardstick for judging everyone from Nigeria”.
Nigerian nationals have been linked to five major kidnapping cases in the country since August last year.
Mr Samuel-Udoetuk Willis, a Nigerian who is currently in police custody, is the main suspect in the kidnapping of three girls in Takoradi in the Western Region. A second Nigerian suspect, John Oji sis also on trial for the same crime.
Three Nigerians and five Ghanaians were also involved in the kidnapping of two Canadians who were rescued last week in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
Three Nigerians are also on the run in connection with the kidnapping of a Lebanese diplomat Nabil Makram Basbous, the Consular General and Head of Mission of Estonia to Ghana at Labone in April this year.
Some Nigerians were also arrested at Kasoa in the central region in connection with the kidnapping and killing of a two-year-old Ghanaian boy in that area also in April.
Additionally, some Nigerian nationals are suspected to be behind the kidnapping of an Indian businessman in Kumasi in April this year.
Just on Sunday, 16 June 2019, another Nigerian suspect was arrested at Mamobi in Accra for trying to kidnap a four-year-old Ghanaian boy.
Some Ghanaians on various social media platforms have expressed anger at the current trend of kidnappings involving Nigerian suspects.
But the Fighters insist that “the penchant to label crime this way is the root of the heinous Afrophobic attacks that have claimed the lives of many Africans in South Africa”.
Below is the full statement
STOP CRIMINALISING NIGERIANS AND OTHER AFRICAN NATIONALS
We have observed with dismay the continuous criminalisation of our fellow Africans from Nigeria and other countries. This has come about as a result of some Nigerian nationals suspected to be involved in criminal activities. But this does not in any way make all Nigerians criminals. If some are found breaking the law, they must be dealt with through the due process of the law, rather than used as the yardstick for judging everyone from Nigeria.
The penchant to label crime this way is the root of the heinous Afrophobic attacks that have claimed the lives of many Africans in South Africa. In our press release of 21st April 2019, we had cause to condemn these attacks and call for measures against South Africa if nothing was done to curb them. In the same light, we condemn attempts by the police and media to reduce the crimes of robbery, kidnapping and others to the presence of Nigerians in Ghana.
It is important to reiterate our position that no African should be seen as a foreigner in Ghana or anywhere in Africa for that matter. For we are all first Africans before being Ghanaians or Nigerians. It is the preservation of colonially-imposed borders without regard to our larger Africanness that has caused the division and rancour in our midst. We must emancipate ourselves from this and unite our forces for prosperity.
This nation was founded on the ideals of the African personality and Pan-African solidarity. We must not betray this foundation.
Revolutionary regards Hardi Yakubu Fighter-General 17th June, 2019