16 January 2018

Nigeria: Southern Cameroon to Nigerian Govt - Release Our Leaders, They're Like Awolowo, Azikiwe

Photo: Premium Times
A map showing the border between Nigeria and Cameroon.

Members of a group demanding the secession of the southwest of Cameroon, as Republic of Ambazonia, have demanded the release of their leaders detained by security operatives in Nigeria.

They said the detained leaders can be compared to Nigeria's late leaders who fought for independence including Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo.

The secessionist leaders were taken into custody by the Nigerian Defence Intelligence Agency after they crossed the border into Nigeria for a meeting on January 5.

The Anglophone Cameroonians, led by their president, Julius Tabe, declared the secession of Federal Republic of Ambazonia from Cameroon in October 2017.

Various groups, including Amnesty International have warned against their extradition to Cameroon by the Nigerian government.

In a statement on Tuesday signed by Ambazonia's secretary for communication and information technology, Chris Anu, the group condemned the silence of the Nigerian government since the arrest of its leaders.

It expressed dismay that Nigeria has not considered even a press statement on the matter.

"The Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia (the former British Southern Cameroons), notes with dismay, the fact that since abducted at gunpoint on January 5th, 2018, the President, Julius Ayuk Tabe and 10 other members of his Cabinet have not been granted access to any lawyers and family members by the Nigerian Government which we are now aware that in complicity with the Cameroon regime in Yaoundé, engineered their abduction.

"We condemn vehemently, the fact that the Nigerian government, more than a week after the abductions, has not as much considered a press statement on the abductions even when the majority of those abducted are duly registered refugees in Nigeria.

"Nigeria is a signatory to International conventions on human rights, and to be acting recklessly as it is doing in this case, is a bridge of those conventions.

"The Interim Government IG, of Ambazonia calls on the Nigerian authorities to immediately effect the unconditional release of our President and the 10 others abducted along with him on January 5th.

"We are demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of: Dr. Nfor Ngala Nfor, Dr. Fidelis Nde Che, Dr. Henry Kimeng, Prof. Che Awasum, Dr. Cornelius Kwanga, Mr. Tassang Wilfred, Dr. Ojong Okonghor, Barrister Nalowa Bih, Barrister Shufai Blaise Berinyuh and Barrister Eyambe Elias."

The statement said the detainees are not Cameroonians and should not be considered as attempting to foment trouble in Cameroon. It warned that Ambazonia would commence the process for destabilising the economy of Cameroon, if assaults on its citizens continued.

"We like to bring to the attention of the Nigerian Government, and the world at large the fact that these victims abducted in the guise of fomenting trouble in the nation of Cameroon are not Cameroonians. They are Ambazonians. And as long as the Cameroon Government continues the military occupation, assault, rape, killings and the savagery on property in the Ambazonian territory, our resolve to launch a campaign aimed at economic divestment in la Republic du Cameroun will not relent.

"We will target foreign companies that do business in La Republique du Cameroun and whose revenue supports Mr. Paul Biya's corrupt and inefficient functionaries. It is time for Western Governments to pass a Cameroon Divestment Act that will force their governments to cut investment ties with companies doing business in La Republique du Cameroun. But if they don't, our actions will definitely force them to do so.

"The Interim Government will like to make this clarification; The Cameroon crisis isn't about secessionists or separatists, as is being widely reported. Ours is rather a classic problem of a failed decolonization from British colonial rule.

"If Britain had granted Southern Cameroons independence like all other colonial powers did to their territories, this problem would not be here now. So let it be made plain and clear, Ambazonians are not separatists or secessionists, we are freedom fighters in the order of Nkrumah, Lumumba, Awolowo, Azikiwe, John Garang, Nyerere etc., fighting colonization by La Republique du Cameroun.

"The Union between La Republique du Cameroun and the Southern Cameroons was never consummated," the statement said.

According to the statement, the Republic of Ambazonia will continue its campaign across global regions 'until it lives free or dies' trying to attain freedom. It vowed that Ambazonia Republic would not give in, despite lack of support from the international community.

"The IG of Ambazonia, will continue worldwide campaigns for Southern Cameroons' right to self-determination and continuous nonviolent protest within Cameroon until our dream of a completely free and independent Ambazonia is achieved. Nothing less.

"Abducting our leaders isn't going to deter us, it will only just spur us the more. And killing, arrest, torture, rape and even a hundred thousand more refugees will not deter our resolve.

"We have battled the injustice forced upon us by the British Government for 56 years. If the International Community thinks we are now ready to let go at this juncture, it is mistaken. If the UN, EU, Commonwealth, the AU, the US and British governments want to stop a bloodbath in Cameroon, THE TIME IS NOW, not tomorrow. Every one of us, eight million Ambazonians will be killed before our territory will be made part of Cameroun again."

Since the declaration of secession from Cameroon in October, members of the group had clashed several times with Cameroonian authorities.

In December, a delegation from President Paul Biya was received by Nigerian authorities in what was regarded as a meeting to strengthen the diplomatic bond between the two countries.

Credible sources however told PREMIUM TIMES that the delegation's mission was to ask for the help of the Nigerian government for the arrest of about 15 leaders of the Ambazonia agitation.

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