The Nigerian community in Ghana has offered to assist police to find the missing Takoradi girls by speaking to the key suspect, a Nigerian identified as Samuel Udotek Willis.
The Igbo King of the Nigerian Community in Ghana, His Royal Majesty Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu and Leader of the Ghana Chapter of Nigerians in the Diaspora, Ogbonna Kaycey, said Tuesday that many attempts to meet Samuel have been unsuccessful.
Ogbonna Kaycey believes the community “can deal with [the suspect]” who some reports have suggested has led police on a wild goose chase to locate three girls who went missing in the Western Region capital since last year.
“Your Majesty [Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu] has made attempts [to meet criminals said to be Nigerians]. Even in the case of the suspect in Takoradi. There was a time we were so angry in the community; there was a time the guy was tossing the authorities up and down and the community was so angry and people were expressing anger; ‘show us this idiot, let’s deal with him,’” Mr Kaycey said on PM Express, Tuesday evening.
Nigerians are battling negative public perception following the involvement of persons believed to be Nigerians in many high-profile kidnappings and other crimes in Ghana.
Security analysts have also pointed to an influx of Nigerian-style crimes in Ghana in recent times.
For instance, the most crucial case in the wave of kidnappings that have gripped Ghana is the one involving Samuel Udotek Willis, who is being held by Ghana police over his involvement in the suspected kidnapping of the three girls in 2018. The girls are yet to be found.
The police are also on a manhunt for three Nigerians linked to the kidnapping of the Consular-General and Head of Mission of Estonia to Ghana, Nabil Makram Basbous, in April 2019 in Accra who was later rescued by police.
The Police in Kasoa in the Central Region also arrested three Nigerians over the kidnap and murder of a two-year-old boy last April.
At a press conference in April, the Police CID revealed it had arrested a two-man Nigerian gang who have confessed to at least 11 armed robberies, a spree that included raping their victims before bolting with cash worth more than two million cedis.
In the latest episode of kidnapping, National Security operatives engaged the Nigerians in a gun battle before overpowering the suspects holding two Canadian ladies.
However, despite these incidents, Mr Kaycey said on PM Express, a current affairs programme on the Joy News channel on MultiTV that many Nigerians living in Ghana are helping to improve the country’s economy.
“We are law abiding citizens. Engage us,” Ogbonna Kaycey appealed to the media and the police on PM Express.
“I am aware that in other nations when a crime is committed and a foreigner is arrested, he is meant to be identified by his people to confirm that this is a citizen of our country but nothing like that has been done,” he added.
He said this was important because it is very likely that sometimes the criminals might not be a Nigerians, but may be holding themselves up as such only to give them a bad name.
His Royal Majesty Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu also appealed to Nigerians in Ghana to make contact with the leaders of the Nigerian community for recognition and assistance when the need arises.
Shops of Nigerians at Suame Magazine at Kumasi in the Ashanti Region have been shut down by their Ghanaian counterparts.
According to the Nigerians who deal in vehicle spare parts, their Ghanaian counterparts from last week Thursday shut down their shops preventing them from selling.
Speaking to Joy FM, some of the Ghanaian retailers at the market accused the Nigerians of evading tax and selling substandard products which is a threat to the market.
The Ghanaian retailers added that the actions of these Nigerian shop owners are affecting their sales because most people do not want to buy the secondhand products anymore but the substandard new ones brought in by the Nigerians.
"People don't buy from us anymore and they (Nigerians) are smart and fast, because of the Nigerians they don't buy anything from Ghanaians, they have destroyed the market they bring in substandard parts because of that everybody wants new not the home used..."
President of the Nigerian Retailers Association Ike Chuku said they have lodged an official complaint with the police and they assured them that they will help deal with the situation.
"On Friday we came back and they continued the same thing and the police intervened, but after the police left they came back and continued with the same thing, we have decided to lodge an official complaint."
Media should be circumspect in reporting crimes committed by Nigerians - Nigerian High C’ssioner
The Nigerian High Commission in Ghana has also appealed to the media and the public to be circumspect with their reports and commentary on crimes committed by Nigerians.
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According to the High Commission, it is unfair for all Nigerians in Ghana to be tagged as criminals because some have been involved in series of crimes in the country.
In a statement signed by the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana Ambassador Olufemi Michael Abikoye it read:
” Suffice to say that at times like this, a situation where five (5) Ghanaians in company of three (3) Nigerians allegedly kidnapped two (2) Canadians but seems to enjoy wider press coverage as a crime committed by the Nigerians and considers Ghanaians only as accomplices leave much to be desired on the objectivity of such report. In the light of the above, the High Commission wishes to appeal to the local traditional media and social media to be highly circumspect in such reportage.”
The statement also indicated that categorically stated that whoever commits a crime and found guilty must face the consequences that accompany such crimes.
Donald Trump has said he would accept damaging information on his opponent during the 2020 election campaign, even if it came from a foreign government.
In an interview with broadcaster ABC News, the president denied this would count as meddling in an election.
“They have information – I think I’d take it,” he said.
Asked if he thought his son should have called the FBI when he received one such email in 2016, he said: “Give me a break, life doesn’t work that way.”
However, the president later said he would “maybe” contact the FBI if he were offered information and he “thought there was something wrong”.
What did President Trump say?
“You might want to listen, there’s nothing wrong with listening,” he told the US broadcaster.
“If somebody called from a country… [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ – I think I’d want to hear it.”
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Mr Trump dismissed concerns that this would amount to electoral interference by a foreign power.
He added: “It’s not an interference, they have information, I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong I’d go, maybe, to the FBI – if I thought there was something wrong.
“But when somebody comes up with oppo [opposition] research, right… if you go and talk honestly to congressmen, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called: oppo, research.”
Why does this matter?
Allegations of collusion with foreign powers – specifically, Russia – have consumed Mr Trump’s presidency so far, prompting a a lengthy investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Mr Mueller’s report eventually concluded there was no evidence proving that Mr Trump colluded with Russia.
However, his political rivals are still asking questions: Mr Trump’s latest statements came the same day his son, Donald Jr, was questioned by US senators over his connection with Russia.