Prof.Eyo EtimNyong, don, politician, high chief and recently installed head of OkohoEyoNsa in King Eyo Honesty Royal House of Calabar, speaks to Vanguard INSIGHT on the plight of southern Cameroun refugees in Nigeria. Excerpts
WHAT is your reaction to the current developments in southern part of Cameroun?
We have been following developments there for sometime. They have been excluded from development in their country. The government in Cameroun is focused on killing of people, among other inhuman activities. The southern Camerounians have intention to secede. They have written to the United Nations on this intention but we have no idea as to the reaction of the United Nations.
We the people of the Southeast, and indeed Calabar people have sympathies with them. Southern Camerounians speak as we do. We were the same people until the referendum.
Their leaders came into Nigeria and were arrested by armed people in Abuja. It is regrettable that the Nigerian government has not said anything. There are refugees everywhere in the world. Up till now, there has been no arrangement by the Nigerian government on how to treat these refugees. Nigeria should have a strategy.
If their secession succeeds, it gives Nigeria brighter chance in Bakassi that was wrongly ceded to Cameroun. We think so because they are part of us and it will be easier to negotiate with them.
Thousands of southern Camerounian refugees at Boki in Cross River State
As already indicated, we are not aware that any government, whether federal or state, has offered any form of assistance to these southern Camerounian refugees. Many of them have run to Nigeria but there is no specific attempt towards offering assistance to them.
On what the government should do
Government should assist these southern Camerounian refugees on humanitarian grounds. They are human beings. Nigerians are suffering in other parts of the world and we are showing concern. We should show concern to the plight of the southern Camerounian refugees in Nigeria.