Nigeria’s role in Cameroon crisis
The leadership of western sub-Sahara Africa, African continent and indeed the whole black nations, lies on the shoulders of Nigeria. With a population of over 180 million people, endowed with immense natural and human resources. It is no longer obligatory for Nigeria to assume the leadership role, but a destiny, notwithstanding their internal crisis, Political Instability, Financial and Corruption challenges.
Her Economy strength, vast market drive, very high level of human resources available, have made them the Chief Principal of Africa. This is evident in their role in the continent especially in AU, where they have defended and protected the interest of Africa. She has demonstrated in many occasions her unparalleled leadership role, very instrumental as a front line state in obliterating colonial rules, apathy regime in South Africa.
Nigeria has consistently engaged in peace keeping mission, committing largest human and financial resources to ECOMOG, peace keeping operation in the Chad, Liberia , sierra Leone, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Cote D’ Ivory, Somalia Sudan, etc. She has devoted so much to ensure conflict and crisis resolution in the continent.
However, in Cameroon a proximate country that shares borders with Nigeria, has a lot of internal and fast developing crisis at the moment. Going back to the history of Nigeria and Cameroon diplomatic relationship since independence have been a fluidity state. The friendly relationship of the two countries was experienced in 1960, which later shifted to a cat and dog situation that even resulted to military confrontation.
The conflict deepened to constant clashes which consequently took a very dangerous dimension. This brought the action of International court of justice judgement, in which Cameroon won in reclaiming of Bakassi Peninsula and Nigerian villages around Lake Chad. Today Cameroon needs Nigeria more than ever before, and it is binding for her to play the big brother role once again.
Cameroon has a very distinctive political configuration where the country is divided into two, francophone mostly from the north and Anglophone mostly from the south. This major incongruence has brought so much internal conflict that have necessitated the southern part to violently seeking to secede from the country.
For over a year there have been so much violent, hate and seditious expressions from the both side of the country, in what is progressively turning to a civil war if not urgently attended to. The southern Cameroonians who refer to themselves as Ambazonians have alleged that the current francophone establishment led by the autocratic President Paul Biya who has been in power for over 30 years of total bad rule, marginalization, deprivation, and every possible inhumane treatment you can imagine.
Speaking to Bloomgist, a native of Mamfe, one of the areas on facing the heat and total occupation of the Cameroonian soldiers share his experience surving everyday in the current crisis developing in the country;
“I graduated with a very good grade as a lawyer, but we don’t practice. President Biya is scared of raising the brains that would challenge him. The government operate with authority that is consolidated by intimidation, oppression, suppression and disempowering of the citizens. I was in Yaoundé before going back to Mamfe, it is time for revolution and the restoration of our land. We do not plan to back down at any threat, we are ready for them. I tell you, we do not sleep well at night. The military occupation of the southern Cameroon is intense at the moment. They abduct our youths, beat, kill the boys and rape the women. They are doing everything to stop us, we are resilient and will not allow that with the last drop of our blood. We are calling on the international communities to intervene. We have every right to self-determination.
David who spoke confidently to Bloomgist after we promised his anonymity revealed that they (the Southern Cameroonians) are ready to fight back and defend their land and their people being suppressed, killed, raped and taken for slavery by the Cameroonian soldiers;
“We have our governing council which is doing enormous job and over 200k fearless army on the go, David said. We are doing all these on the basis of the UN classification on international crisis. There must be a war and casualty rate of over 1000 deaths before they will intervene. We are hoping of our eventual freedom from the francophone controlled government. There has been more than 1 year of civil disobedience. Schools are under lock and key. Everything is in comatose and has reduced the revenue flow into the government pocket’’. Said David who lives in Mamfe.
The crisis has taken another dimension late November, due to the militarization of the Southern Cameroon, leading so many displaced, dead, or injured. Apparently the people have resolved to fight and defend themselves against the government. Paul Biya has completely ignored the sincere and inclusive dialogue which UN asked the government to organize. There are over 1000 military men in Mamfe and Kumba, killing and maiming the youths. In retaliation, the people have taken up arms against the army as there are reports on number of soldiers reportedly injured or killed in the region.
Interestingly many of them, the southern Cameroonians have high hope on Nigerian Federal government to intervene. Their excitement were evident among the supporters when the news of Ayade, The Governor of Nigerian state of Cross River condemning the lackluster and lip services by the United Nations on what he called ‘debasing of humanity’. In his words, ‘’you cannot watch the dislocation of family structures, kids being separated from their parents, husbands separated from their wives and all you do is rush with food to their corridors, create squatters and camps for them and you think that is aid? You have failed. If we are indeed united, the issue of Cameroon should be at forefront of UN today.’’
He also frowned at the alleged closure of the Cameroon international border against the Anglophones, which he described the act as ‘’criminal’’,
Governor Ayade enjoined Buhari as a leader of Africa not to be involved in politics of Cameroon but to interfere in the lives of every Black man on earth. He also recounted the problems bedeviling the southern Cameroon where everything is completely shut down. This action alone has given them so much optimism that Nigeria is coming to intervene. The hope is very high that they have gone as far as showing solidarity to Nigerian Senior National Team, Super Eagle against Cameroon to spite the francophone led government. (Show some of their comments)
This has not been taken lightly by the francophone Cameroonians who do not want to imagine that their country is divided. They are throwing their weight behind the regime to stop the secessionists at all cost. This group of ‘’pro’ Biya people have so much bad and criticism on Nigeria. To them, they believe that Nigeria is the reason why they are having all the problems. One was quoted as saying on one of their popular social media that ‘’Nigeria has always been a hide out for terrorist, from Boko Haram to Ambazonians terrorists. We will get rid of our enemies at all front, defeat them by the grace of God”.
What this means in a clear term is that Cameroonian government, backed by francophone citizens have so much contempt for the Nigerian state, while the Anglophone who have shown so much love to Nigeria, and would support Nigeria to spite the Cameroon.
Currently the United Nations High Commission for Refugees recently hinted that over 40,000 southern Cameroonians are expected in the Ikom, and Calabar local government Areas in Nigeria. We also gathered that other southern Cameroonian groups are expected to give their voices to the campaign initiated by the interim Head of State Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, a Computer Engineer, who hails from a village called Ewelle in Mamfe, currently in asylum in an unknown country.
Cross River state Governor on his part, has declared his readiness to welcome the refugees from the neighbouring Cameroon. In the same vein the Nigerian Comptroller General Mr Mohammed Babande said, the Cameroonian refugees should be well protected just as they did for us during the crisis period of Boko Haram in the north Eastern part of Nigeria. The state government is currently hosting some of their leaders who are now fugitive, and over 40,000 of the refuges are being camped by the Cross River state government.
Nigeria has a huge responsibility of policing the African continent. Unfortunately they have so much to contend within, the Biafran agitators, Fulani Herdsmen, Boko Haram, Niger Delta militants, etc. The people of Southern Cameroon are seriously in dire need of a voice, protection, and leadership from Nigeria to establish their influence and capacity.
SOURCE: The Bloomgist. Extra reporting by Eyewitnesses in Cameroon and Cross River state government