In Akwa Ibom State, leaders of 16 mangrove communities have stated their intention of joining Cameroon if the government of Nigeria neglects stopping Cameroonian gendarmes from continuously harassing them.
As the community leaders reported, authorities of the Cameroonian government have already taken possession of their ancestral lands.
The Akwa Ibom communities which are alleged to have been taken over by Cameroon according to Premium Times, include Ine Odiong, Inua Mba, Ine Inua Abasi, Ine Usuk, Ibekwe, Itung Ibekwe, Akwa Ine Nsikak and Ine Ekeya, Ine Ebighi Edu, Ine Etakisib, Atabong, Akpakanya, Ine Okobedi, Ine Atayo, Ine Akpak and Abana, all communities under Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, in southern Nigeria.
A fact-finding team from the National Boundary Commission, headed by Moses Onyoh, were made to know that the Cameroonian Government had forced the payment of Taxes on Nigerian citizens living in the mentioned communities during a meeting they had with the village head of Abana, Nyong Etim Efa, who also said that even though the Akwa Ibom state government appointed him a village head, Cameroon had also issued him a certificate as a village head under their government.
“The Cameroon Gendarmes have placed taxes on all the communities. In Abana, we are demanded to pay N500, 000 per month.”
“The last time they came to collect the money and found out that I didn’t convene a meeting to raise the tax, they raped my wife, beat me up and later detained me in their cell.”
“For our youths who resisted them, they cut their fishing nets into pieces and seize their outboard engines.”
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“We are weakened by repeated molestation from Cameroon Gendarmes. We are seriously considering taking up citizenship in Cameroon, since Nigerian Government cannot protect us.”
Another resident of the island community invaded, Etim Eyo, bemoaned the fact they had no other source of livelihoods.
“On Saturday February 27, we experienced the worst onslaught on our people. The gendarmes raided our homes, raped our wives, seized 10 outboard engines, eight bags of crayfish and money.”
“After the incident, it has been difficult to eke a living. We don’t have money to buy new outboard engines and fishing nets.”
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In a meeting held at Enwang, Mbo Local Government headquarters, top leaders of the area urged the federal government to officially set the boundaries between Nigerian and Cameroonian water bodies. They also faulted the government for failure to correct the nation’s boundaries 13 years after the International Court of Justice ruling and vowed to launch a counter attack against Cameroonian soldiers when next they come after them.