Leaders of 16 mangrove island communities in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have threatened to join Cameroon should the federal government fail to stop the constant molestation they suffer from Cameroonian gendarmes.
The community leaders alleged that Cameroonian authorities have taken over their ancestral homes, namely: Ine Odiong, Inua Mba, Ine Inua Abasi, Ine Usuk, Ibekwe, Itung Ibekwe, Akwa Ine Nsikak and Ine Ekeya. Others are Ine Ebighi Edu, Ine Etakisib, Atabong, Akpakanya, Ine Okobedi, Ine Atayo, Ine Akpak and Abana.
Premium Times reports that during a meeting with the village head of Abana, Nyong Etim Efa, a fact-finding team from the National Boundary Commission, led by Moses Onyoh, was told that the Government of the Republic of Cameroon had imposed taxes on Nigerians living in the 16 affected communities.
Efa disclosed that although he was appointed a village head by the Akwa Ibom State Government, the Republic of Cameroon has equally given him certificate as a village head.
The village head was reported as saying: “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,” he stated.
Another resident of the island community invaded, Etim Eyo decried that they have been left with no source of livelihoods, recounting 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,” Eyo lamented.