December 20, 2023

Reps call for military intervention over Cameroon armed assailants invasion 

Reps call for military intervention over Cameroon armed assailants invasion 

By Gift ChapiOdekina

The House of Representatives has called on President Bola Tinubu to urgently deploy military forces to the Okwa Community, in Cross River State to ensure the protection of Nigerian territorial integrity and the safety of its citizens following an alleged invasion by armed assailants from neighbouring Cameroon.

The House also urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to initiate diplomatic efforts to address the prevailing impasse and seek a peaceful resolution to the security challenges in the region.

The House Committees on Defense, Foreign Affairs, Security, and Intelligence were mandated to oversee and ensure the effective implementation of the aforementioned measures, maintaining vigilant oversight on the protection of the Okwa Community and the broader national interest.

These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion of urgent importance titled “Threat of Invasion of Okwa Community, Boki Local Government Area by the Cameroon” moved by Hon Victor Abang.

Moving the motion, Abang noted that there is a high-level threat and security concern in Okwa Community, Boki Local Government Area in Cross River.

On December 11, 2023, heavily armed individuals, suspected to be of Cameroonian origin, boldly invaded the community, shooting sporadically, issuing threats to burn down the community, and prohibiting locals from accessing their farmland without any provocation.

This fiasco, he said, has created distress and fear among residents of Okwa.

He also noted that this distressing incident follows the summary execution of Chief Ogweshi Francis Ongwele, the clan head of the Belegette Clan (a neighbouring community) in Obanliku Local Government Area, Cross River State, on December 5, 2023. 

The lawmaker further stated that this event resulted in the injuries of 30 individuals, the kidnapping of an unspecified number, and the destruction of the community by the same assailants from Cameroon. 

He said the devastation has left the citizens of the Okwa community in a state of apprehension and unable to access their farmland.

Abang further said it was aware that Okwa, a Nigerian community, shares borders with communities in Southeastern Cameroon and lies within the Gorilla Protection Unit of the Okwangwo Division of the Cross River National Park. It is crucial to recognise that Okwa is an integral part of Nigeria, inhabited by Nigerian citizens who strongly identify with their Nigerian heritage.

He noted this was not a case of a border dispute but an invasion of Nigeria’s sovereignty by another country, which amounts to an act of war and violation of the principles of international law on international boundaries.

 “We might wake up one day as a house to hear that the people of Okwa have been completely annihilated by the same invaders from another country. Because, even as we speak now the threat level remains very high.”

“If immediate and deliberate actions are taken once and for all to ensure the security of Nigerians and their properties in the borderland, preserving the strength and integrity of our nation, our entire Eastern border will one day be adjusted to suit the Cameroon national interest.”