Rumoured Killings in Bakassi: Nigerian Community Refutes Allegations
A crisis meeting chaired by the SDO of Ndian held on July 20, 2017 in Idabato.
The Nigerian community has refuted allegations broadcast over foreign media and written in some local newspapers that Cameroonian soldiers had killed 97 Nigerians in the Bakassi Peninsula and 50 drowned in the sea. The rebuff was made on July 20, 2017 during a crisis meeting convened by the Senior Divisional Officer for Ndian, Eta Ashu Mbokaya. The meeting which took place at the premises of government primary school Idabato II, witnessed the presence of the Second Vice Consul General of Nigeria to the South West and North West Regions, A.O Bamgbelu, Nigerian chiefs and members of the Nigerian community.
According to the SDO, the meeting was aimed at clearing the air on false allegations that the Cameroonian military had killed 97 Nigerians living in Bakassi Peninsula. The SDO said what he knew was that after the installation of the Divisional Officers (DO) in Bakassi, he held a working session with the Nigerian community of Idabato where they all assured him that they would work in close collaboration with the newly installed DO. He said during the working session the only complaint he got from the Nigerians was what they considered as high taxes levied on them and that they were pleading for the taxes to be reduced.
He revealed that when he returned to Mundemba he received the DO and the Mayor who came to inform him of the fact that they wanted to launch their tax drive. He accepted and asked them to go and sensitize their population before engaging in the exercise which they actually did. So, when the operation started on July 3, 2017, some of the people paid their taxes while others were reluctant saying that they were living in their country. However, the tax collection team embarked on their second mission on July 6, 2017 in Jabane where they were chased out of the village with stones and cutlasses saying that they should go back to their country and that they, the Nigerians, were living in their own country here in Jabane. They equally chased away the DO and the Mayor. The SDO revealed that in all these there was no reaction from the soldiers.
The Second Vice Consul General of Nigeria to the South West and North West regions of Cameroon, A.O Bamgbelu, disclosed that when they got the news of 97 Nigerians being killed in Bakassi, he was taken aback because there was no complaint from any of the Nigerian families that any of their family members had been shot dead by the Cameroonian soldiers. Speaker after speaker said Cameroon gave the Nigerians a period of five years for them not to pay taxes and this timeframe expired in 2013. Again the former SDO accorded another two years of grace which finally expired in 2015 and so they didn’t see any reason why Nigerians living in Bakassi should not continue to pay taxes.