Leaders of 16 communities in Mbo Local Government of Akwa Ibom State including: Ine Odiong, Itua Mba, Ine Inua Abasi, Ine Usuk, Ibekwe, Itung Ibekwe, Akwa Ine Nsikak and Ine Ekeya have raised the alarm over constant attacks and threatened to join Cameroon if the Nigerian government fails to stop Cameroonian gendarmes from molesting them.
According to the leaders of these communities, Cameroonian authorities have already taken over some communities located in Mbo. Other communities are Ine Ebighi Edu, Ine Etakisib, Atabong, Akpakanya, Ine Okobedi, Ine Atayo, Ine Akpak and Abana.
The village head of Abana, Nyong Etim Efa, who held a meeting with a fact-finding team from the National Boundary Commission led by Moses Onyoh, said that the government of the Republic of Cameroon had imposed taxes on Nigerians living in the affected communities. He noted that although he was appointed a village head by the Akwa Ibom State government, Cameroon had also given him a certificate as a village head.
“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 sized their outboard engines. We are weakened by repeated molestation from Cameroon gendarmes. We are seriously considering taking up citizenship in Cameroon since Nigerian government cannot protect us,” he said.
Another resident of the invaded community, Etim Eyo, lamented that local people were left with no source of livelihoods. “On Saturday, February 27, we experienced the worst onslaught on our people. The gendarmes raided our homes, raped our wives, and 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,” he said.
At a meeting held at Enwang, the headquarters of Mbo LGA, leaders of the area urged the Federal Government to officially demarcate Nigeria’s maritime boundaries with Cameroon. They also criticised the government for failing to correct the nation’s boundaries 13 years after the International Court of Justice ruling. In December, 2015, Cameroonian troops invaded Kirawa-Jimni village in Gwoza LGA of Borno State.
According to the residents, over 70 local people were killed after soldiers of the Cameroonian army allegedly chased Boko Haram insurgents into their community.