By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayadr has called for an international boundary patrol agency to curb the menace of transborder crimes which is currently plaguing the state.
Ayade who said the agitation for secession in the republic of Cameroon which borders the state has had an impact on the state’s security made the call at the sidelines of the 53rd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government holding at Lome, Togo.
The governor told journalists that: “Cross River State is a direct product of all the problems that are occasioned by the armed rebellion in the Ambazonians of Cameroon.
“In the process of doing that, what happens is that, the Ambazonians come into Cross River State trying to see how they can do recruitment, do kidnapping in order to raise funds and move over with arms back to Cameroon to struggle for secession.
“It is an emergency to also have an international boundary patrol agency. These (with) what has happened and what I have seen here today shows clearly that the problems of insecurity, the issues of kidnapping, these international trans-boundary and migration of stolen people is beyond the carrying capacity of the state.”
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Furthermore, Mr. Ayade called on the federal government to, “play an active role” in the issue as the country forms, “70 percent of the entire power structure of the ECOWAS.”
The governor who is in the entourage of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari at the summit, departed the country for Togo on Sunday and upon arrival, joined Mr. Buhari to a meeting with Nigerians resident in that country.
But, who are the Ambazonians?
They are the anglophone speaking natives of the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon whom were originally under the United Nations Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons under the United Kingdom administration between 1922 to 1961.
Following their declaration of independence on October 1, 2017, the french authorities began a clampdown on them which forced tens of thousands to flee into Nigeria.
As at June 1, 2018 a flash report by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) said a total of 21,291 Cameroonian refugees have been registered.
Of that figure, 17,003 representing 80 percent were resident in Ikom, Obudu and Obanliku local government areas of Cross River with others in Benue (3,525), Akwa Ibom (179) and Taraba (584).
An even higher figure is speculated to be unregistered.
The report said 11,757 refugees were reached with three-time food and non food items distributions while 605 refugees have received shelter assistance and 1,635 refugees provided with medical assistance including 36 surgeries in the state.
The governor had raised an eyebrow over the social, cultural and health implications of the refugees in the state when he received a delegation from the UNHCR and NCFRMI in November 2017 where he also criticised the silence of the international community on the crackdown in Cameroon.
He lampooned the United Nations for failing to live up to expectations and wondered why it failed in its duty stipulated in Charter 51 but promised to keep doors open to welcome Cameroonians into the state.
Some of these fears came to reality when the corpses of a family of eight refugees were found decomposing in their apartment at Ikom in central Cross River State.
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