Nige­ri­ans stranded over in­sur­rec­tion in Cameroon

Weekly Trust - - News - Eyo Charles, Cal­abar

Over 500 Nige­ri­ans liv­ing and do­ing in­ter-bound­ary busi­nesses have be­come stranded in the bor­der towns of Mfum near Ikom and Stung Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Ar­eas (LGA) of Cross River State. This fol­lowed the vol­un­tary clo­sure of all Cameroon bor­ders with Nige­ria a cou­ple of days ago due to the sep­a­ratist in­sur­rec­tion by South­ern Cameroon which has been strug­gling to be a sovereign state since the 1960s.

On Oc­to­ber 1, 2017 they for­mally pro­claimed their in­de­pen­dence and the gov­ern­ment of President Paul Biya or­dered a clamp down, forc­ing many for­eign­ers and Nige­rian res­i­dents in the coun­try to flee or be­come stranded.

When Daily Trust vis­ited the Mfum bor­der, it was ob­served that sev­eral peo­ple in­clud­ing traders, students and other pas­sen­gers who wanted to cross the bor­der on both sides were stranded.

Some of those who spoke on the sit­u­a­tion de­scribed the de­vel­op­ment as in­hu­man and very frus­trat­ing.

Mrs. Grace Takom, a co­coa trader, said the clo­sure has been very frus­trat­ing be­cause her liveli­hood de­pends much on her daily vis­its to Cameroon.

A stu­dent of Higher In­sti­tute of Busi­ness Man­age­ment and Tech­nol­ogy, Buea, Alele Pre­cious Ezinne, who said she was re­turn­ing to Cameroon from Nige­ria de­cried the hard­ship posed by the bor­der clo­sure. She said they had spent over a week wait­ing for the bor­der to be re-opened and com­plained that most of them did not un­der­stand the rea­son for the clo­sure.

Some of them said they were fac­ing chal­lenges of feeding and pay­ing their ho­tel bills as they have spent all they had on them. They called on the au­thor­i­ties con­cerned to take steps to re-open the bor­der so that they can re­con­nect with their fam­i­lies and carry out their le­git­i­mate busi­nesses.

A house wife, Car­o­line Lerin, with her two young chil­dren said she was trav­el­ling from Nige­ria through Cameroon to Gabon to join her hus­band af­ter spend­ing the hol­i­day with her chil­dren in Nige­ria.

She said she had gone through dif­fi­cul­ties with her chil­dren and called for ur­gent steps to re-open the bor­der.

Some of the traders said they may in­cur great losses as their goods may go bad, adding that they were not sure when the bor­der will be re-opened.

The priest in charge of Saint Peter’s Catholic Church, Ikom, Very Rev­erend Fa­ther James Mg­bado, who has been har­bour­ing some of those stranded, said most of them who came into Nige­ria could no longer cross due to the clo­sure of the bor­der. He said the church also played host to some stranded Con­golese who crossed from Cameroon to Nige­ria as a re­sult of the cri­sis in Cameroon, adding that about seven per­sons were still un­der his care, out of over thirty peo­ple that were there.

Fa­ther James Mg­bado said the church also haboured some tourists from Ar­gentina who were on tran­sit to Cameroon and that the church con­tin­ues to play its role, giv­ing peo­ple hope in spite of the chal­lenges.

The priest said the church is the house of God and a place of refuge for hu­man­ity, adding that it re­mains a place of suc­cour for those in need.

A key pro­po­nent of South­ern Cameroon, oth­er­wise called Am­bazo­nian Repub­lic, Bishop Si­mon Apana, who spoke ex­clu­sively to our re­porter said that they will never rest un­til they re­alise their dream.

Nige­ri­ans be­ing repa­tri­ated

Where Nige­ri­ans were held up before the repa­tri­a­tion

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