Nigerians living in the 16 mangrove Island villages in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have threatened to pull out of Nigeria and become a part of Cameroon if the government of Nigeria do not step up and protect them from the continuous abuse they suffer from Cameroonian gendarmes.
According to Premium Times, the leaders of the villages allege that their lands have been taken over by Cameroonian authorities.
The communities are: Ine Odiong, Inua Mba, Ine Inua Abasi, Ine Usuk, Ibekwe, Itung Ibekwe, Akwa Ine Nsikak and Ine Ekeya, Ine Ebighi Edu, Ine Etakisib, Atabong, Akpakanya, Ine Okobedi, Ine Atayo, Ine Akpak and Abana.
The village leaders stated this while meeting with a fact-finding team from the National Boundary Commission, headed by Moses Onyoh, and the village head of Abana, Nyong Etim Efa.
Onyoh was informed by the village leaders that the Cameroonian government has imposed taxes on Nigerians living in the communities.
Efa stated that he has a certificate from the government of Akwa Ibom state as the appointed head of the village, as well as a certificate from the Republic of Cameroon.
He said: “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 seize 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.”
Etim Eyo, another resident of the village, stated that: “On Saturday February 27, we experienced the worst onslaught on our people. The gendarmes raided our homes, raped our wives, 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.”
The federal government is yet to comment on the issue.