by crossriverwatch admin
Danare community leaders in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State have identified the abundant forest reserves in their land as the major attraction why Cameroon is insisting on the re-demarcation of the border so they could appropriate the forest reserve.
According to the Community leaders , the border and farmland frontiers between them and their Cameroonian neighbors have never been in dispute until recently when Cross River State forest was adopted by the United Nations biodiversity program, UN –REDD in which the state is expected to benefit billions of naira. “The bulk of the Cross River forest is in our community and in fact much of it is still virgin and its adoption by the United Nations as REDD project in which the state is scheduled to benefit hundreds of millions of dollars is what is attracting Cameroon to ask for the re-demarcation of the border so that our forest will be in Cameroon”. Chief Kekung Mbia, the clan head of the community told CrossRiverWatch in Danare.
Chief Clement Abang, the Danare Community Chairman also told CrossRiverWatch that the pillar 113 which is one of the major pillars that divide the border between Nigeria and Cameroon is right behind the community’s primary school and has been there since its erection in 1913 by the Germans without anybody tampering with it but pillar 113A which has not been found is located some nine kilometers inside the forest and not at the Biajua Health Center as the Cameroonians are insisting.
“Pillar 113 is behind our primary school while pillar 113A which should be the next point is some nine kilometers inside the forest and from there to pillar 114 which is at Agbokim from there to pillar 114A which is in Biaje inside Cameroon but Cameroon with the assistance of the UN are re-demarcating the border through a straight line to Biajua rather than retracing it to Biaje” Chief Abang stated.
Another Leader of the Community, Mr. Michael Kekong Owan, the former chairman of the community said if Cameroon is allowed to re-demarcate the border in a straight line through Biajua as they are insisting, then not just Danare and Biajua would be taken over by Cameroon but several other communities stretching through Ikom to the Ranch Resort in Obanlikwu local Government Area. “The border is not a straight line from our community to Biajua but a delineation based on affinities along cultural and ancestral lines which the Germans identified while erecting the beacons and two of our grandparents who assisted during the delineation exercise are still alive”. Owan stated.
Mr. Owan said when the Cameroonian team along with the UN officials visited the community on the 20th of February this year, they were in a hurry to complete the border demarcation exercise even when the community advised them to search for pillar 113A inside the forest which will guide them correctly on which direction to retrace the border lines’.
“They were apparently in a hurry to demarcate the border along a straight line even when we advised them that they should go along with some hunters into the forest to look for beacon 113A they refused saying that the beacon is at Biajua and the next time they came on June 14, they came with soldiers to intimidate us so that they can demarcate the border along a straight line but Cameroon will first have to kill all of us before they can take our forest” Mr. Owan insisted.
He said the surprising thing was the presence of Nigerian soldiers in the team that came on the 14th of June demanding that Cameroon be allowed to demarcate the border along a straight line rather than retrace the existing line that separate the two countries. “The soldiers from Operation MESA removed their name tags before coming into the village and said anyone who stopped the team would be dealt with and our women came out with their bare bodies asking that the soldiers should first kill them before dealing with their men”.
Senator Liyel Imoke the governor of the state who had visited the place sometime in April said no inch of the state territory would be conceded again to another country because the International Court of Justice ruling was specific and it was on the maritime border which is Bakassi and not the land border which Cameroon is trying to interpret in order to take more communities from the state.
Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, the Senate Leader while tabling the matter before the Upper Legislative House also took the same lines and the Senate President was very clear when he also said that Nigeria will not concede any part of its territory to any country again.
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