• Monday, June 17, 2024
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Our people are not security threat to Nigeria, says Sam Ekome, Ambazonian leader

Sam Sako Ekome

Sam Sako Ekome, president, Federal Republic of Ambazonia, a self-declared region in Southern Cameroon, has declared that his people are not a security threat to the peace and unity of Nigeria.

Ekome, who leads Amazonian government, made the call during a recent virtual media parley, which had key members of his cabinet and some Nigerian media representatives in attendance.

According to the president, the people of Southern Cameroon (Ambazonia) have been stuck fighting an existential war since 2017 when its interim leader was unlawfully tried and sentenced to life imprisonment, following their calls for dialogue with French Cameroon.

The fighting has resulted in thousands of people from Ambazonia running away from their homeland to seek refuge in Nigeria.

He regretted that many of his helpless people have been intimidated by security and immigration authorities, which keep insisting on presentation of valid papers, while some are detained on allegations of being a security threat to Nigeria.

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“We are no threat to Nigeria, but peace-loving neighbours who seek refuge. All we ask is for the Nigerian government and authorities to show some love to our people in your country. They are refugees and as such do not have documentation you ask for, but they need your love,” he explained.

According to him, his country has 1.6 million internally displaced persons in Nigeria, by the last count in 2020, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) records indicate that 83,000 Ambazonian refugees have been registered.”

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However, he commended the governments of Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Taraba states for harbouring his people, amid cordial relationship.

Buttressing his point, the president distanced Ambazonia from a reported alliance with the Indigenous People of Biafra and Nnamdi Kanu, leader.

“We are not in any alliance with IPOB. So, somebody is telling a lie which is costing us so much in the suffering of our people in Nigeria. Nigeria should continue to treat our refugees according to international law; they are desperate, hungry, without shelter, without education, and without hope. Please, in the name of God, continue to treat them with love and care. They are not security threats to the territorial integrity or security of the nation of Nigeria, and they will not be,” he assured.

Speaking further on the cause his people are fighting, he explained that Ambazonia was not trying to secede as being misinterpreted by many in Nigeria and beyond, and that theirs is already a sovereign state.

“We are not breaking somebody’s country because ours is a legitimate fight. If we have the right to join, then that right to join also includes the right to go our separate ways, especially where there is not even an agreement binding the two sides”, he said.

According to him, if Southern Cameroon joined Cameroon, it means it attained independence. “We have co-existed this long with Cameroon, but if the union has become problematic, does Southern Cameroon lose its independence as a result? The answer is no. If it is agreed that our union with Cameroon was not a treaty union as contemplated by the United Nations charter, why are we obliged to remain in a de facto union where we have been treated as slaves for the last 60 years?” he asked.

It would be recalled that in early 2018, the Nigerian government arrested many leaders of Ambazonia at a hotel in Abuja, deported and handed them over to the Cameroonian government where a military court sentenced them to life imprisonment for rebellion against the state including Ayuk Tabe, their leader.

Since then there has been an interim government led by Sam Sako Ekome.