President Nana Akufo-Addo is billed to speak to the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, concerning the disappearance of a Ghanaian UNICEF diplomat, Charlotte Nana Yaa Nikoi, who has been missing since 21 March while walking on Table Mountain in Cape Town on Human Rights Day.
Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said on Wednesday, 10 May: “Just last week the Senior Minister and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs were in South Africa and they sought audience with the South African President, Jacob Zuma, and he has taken the matter up. …He has made a statement on it asking the security services of South Africa to quickly work on this matter and find a resolution to it.
“It has received attention at the very high level. Our President will soon be speaking to the President of South Africa. We are watching carefully and keeping an eye on what is happening. A human being cannot disappear just like that. Something happened and we need to get to the bottom of this,” she added in an interview with Accra-based Citi FM.
President Zuma recently appealed to anyone who may have information on Nikoi to come forward and assist the police with their investigation.
The Ghanaian national is reported to have arrived in Cape Town on March 17 on holiday and to celebrate her wedding anniversary with her family.
She went missing a few days later – on Human Rights Day – when she went for a hike on Table Mountain.
Zuma’s spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga, said the president made a special plea for assistance to find Nikoi.
“We appeal to anyone with information to assist the police to locate Ms Nikoi so that she can be reunited with her family. The South African Police and other departments such as Social Development will continue to provide as much support as possible during this difficult time,” said Zuma.
Nikoi’s husband Chris believes she might be kept “against her will”, and asked for the potential kidnapper “not to harm her and release her safely”.
“If anyone is holding her, please don’t hurt her, release her because her family needs her,” he said.
Chris said Nikoi disappeared on March 21 when she and their daughter went hiking up Platteklip Gorge.
“We have done all efforts of searching Table Mountain and clearly she is not there. She is somewhere against her will,” he said.
Chris has not been at work since Nikoi vanished.
“This is the most difficult time the family has found itself in,” said Chris, adding that their 22-year-old daughter is taking the news of her mother’s disappearance very hard as she will be graduating at the end of the month.
“The graduation day will be the most difficult day without her,” he said, adding that their other two children, 16 and 20, living in the US, were receiving counselling.
“I am lying in bed thinking what I could have done to prevent her from going missing. Not a single day passes without my children calling asking if she has been found.
I am hoping that the government will leave no stone unturned to locate her,” said Chris.
Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said the “search for the missing person is ongoing, all leads are followed, the missing person has not been found yet”.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts must contact Chris on 062 439 5189 or 079 140 6099, or the investigating officer on 083 244 3688.