Cameroon/Nigeria: Okocha, Amokachi, and Others Warned Against Attending Football Tournament in Cameroon

(File photo)
27 November 2023

The Ambazonia Interim Government is urging international footballers who intend to visit the region for a football event to exercise caution and reconsider their involvement.

The Interim Government (IG) of Ambazonia has issued a strong warning against a planned football gala tournament scheduled to take place in Victoria, Ambazonia, on Thursday, 30 November.

In a statement issued over the weekend and signed by its President, Chris Anu, the IG declared a total lockdown for Victoria and all of Fako County on that day, urging all businesses and transportation services to cease operations.

The IG's decision stems from concerns that the tournament could exacerbate tensions and jeopardise the local population's safety.

Victoria, Ambazonia, is a coastal city in southwestern Cameroon.

It is the capital of the self-proclaimed Federal Republic of Ambazonia, a state seeking independence from Cameroon.

The region has been embroiled in a protracted and devastating conflict for nearly eight years, and the IG believes that organising a football match during such a volatile period is insensitive to the plight of the people.

"We understand the desire of colonial La Republique du Cameroun to promote normalcy through sports," stated Mr Anu. "But we firmly believe that the current circumstances in Ambazonia demand a different approach. We cannot ignore the fact that the underlying motivation appears to be driven by political agendas rather than genuine love for football."

The IG has also issued a direct appeal to the international footballers invited by Samuel Eto'o to participate in the tournament, including Austin Okocha, Emmanuel Amuneke, Garba Lawal, Daniel Amokachi, and Victor Ikpeba, urging them to reconsider their involvement.

The IG emphasises the potential risks associated with holding the tournament in Victoria, warning that the safety of the players cannot be guaranteed.

"We urge the visiting international footballers to exercise caution and reconsider their involvement in this event," President Anu stated.

"The risks associated with holding the tournament in Victoria are simply too high, and the potential consequences are far too severe to want to ignore."

The IG's stance reflects the deep-seated concerns of the Ambazonian people, who have endured immense hardship and loss because of the ongoing conflict.

The IG maintains that the priority now is to support the pursuit of freedom and justice fully and not to engage in activities that could be perceived as undermining the struggle for self-determination.

"Ambazonians will not allow themselves to be used as pawns in a broader political agenda that disregards our suffering and aspirations," declared President Anu.

The Interim Government of Ambazonia calls upon all parties involved to exercise caution and prioritise the safety and well-being of the local population.

The IG urged the organisers of the football tournament to reconsider their plans and seek alternative venues that do not pose a threat to the peace and stability of Ambazonia.

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