May 31, 2023


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IPOB, Cameroon secessionists planning to destabilise both nations —FG

•Vows Nigeria’ll resist, deal with attempts on its territory being used as haven for secessionist agitators
•Army abetting Fulani herdsmen attacks in Abia — Lawmaker

The federal government has alerted the nation of plans by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to form alliances with secessionist groups in Cameroon with a view to destabilize both countries, pledging that Nigeria will work closely together to ensure that any real or perceived attempts to form any alliances between secessionist groups in Nigeria and Cameroon are decisively dealt with.

The National Security Adviser; Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) who made the revelation reiterated that Nigeria’s territory will never be used as a ‘haven or staging area’ by any group of secessionists to destabilize another friendly sovereign country.

This is even as the Member representing Isuikwuato Council constituency in Abia State House of Assembly, Chief Emeka Okoroafor, has accused the Army of abetting the criminal activities of Fulani herdsmen in the area.

Speaking yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 8th session of Nigeria – Cameroon Trans-Border Security Committee meeting at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, the National Security Adviser noted: “We will continue to support the efforts of the Cameroonian authorities by engaging all aggrieved parties to de-escalate the security concerns in the North West and southwest regions of the country
“An emerging concern is the attempt by secessionist groups in Nigeria to form alliances with secessionist groups in Cameroon in order to destabilize both countries. Let me re-emphasize what I mentioned in my opening remarks during the 6th Session in 2019; President Muhammadu Buhari reassures you that Nigeria’s territory will never be used as a haven or staging area by any group of secessionists to destabilize another friendly sovereign country.
“In addition, we will work closely together to ensure that any real or perceived attempts to form any alliances between secessionist groups in Nigeria and Cameroon are decisively dealt with. Furthermore, we will continue to support the efforts of the Cameroonian authorities by engaging all aggrieved parties to de-escalate the security concerns in the North West and southwest regions of the country.

“The most dominant transnational security issue remains the threat of terrorism perpetrated by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs). These terrorist groups continue to exploit the porous border areas to disrupt the livelihoods of innocent citizens in their communities.
“At this point, I am glad to acknowledge that the close counter-terrorism collaboration between our two countries has significantly curtailed the activities of these terrorists as well as other forms of criminality. In this regard, you have consistently demonstrated your courage, resilience, commitment, and steadfastness towards ensuring peace and stability along with the border areas of Cameroon and Nigeria.

“It is however necessary to strongly reiterate that the work of securing our territorial borders is a collective responsibility and therefore we need to emphasize the importance of the sideline meetings of the Governors of contiguous border States/Regions. Their collaboration would no doubt assist in cross-border security and development initiatives.
“It is equally imperative to engage the border communities and the traditional/local authorities at the grassroot levels in translating the decisions of the Governors’ forum into concrete actions. This can be done through the activation of the Local Bilateral Committees which can also serve as platforms for integration and revival of our historical and socio-cultural ties.

“Our collective efforts under the auspices of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to significantly degrade terrorist activities in the Lake Chad Basin are yielding positive outcomes. This multilateral platform in collaboration with our international partners needs to be further enhanced as we are witnessing the gradual movement of some terrorist groups from the Maghreb to the Sahel in order to form alliances.
“Nonetheless, we are also promoting series of developmental efforts in the North-Eastern part of the country to rehabilitate most of the isolated communities affected by the wanton destruction committed by terrorists.
Reiterating the importance of expanding trade and investment in order to create a more viable and stable economy for ‘our people’, the NSA said: “Nigeria is one of Cameroon’s largest trading partners despite the security concerns along some of the trading routes such as from Maiduguri to Kousseri or Maroua; Jabbi Lamba to Garoua; as well as from Enugu to Bamenda amongst others. Our two Presidents have earlier called for the development of these trans-boundary trade corridors which would no doubt serve as veritable platforms for the integration of ECOWAS and ECCAS sub-regions.
“However, to effectively achieve this feat, we must collectively address smuggling of prohibited items and irregular migration amongst other transnational organized crimes. Meanwhile, it is necessary to state that this trade relationship is further reinforced by the recent conferment on Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian businessman with Cameroon’s top civilian award – Commander of the National Order of Valour for his outstanding contribution to the infrastructural development of Cameroon through his cement plants.
“In addition, the newly constructed 1.5km, a two-lane bridge between Nigeria and Cameroon in Ekot-Mfum border area of Cross River State is designed to ease movement, facilitate trade, improve cross border security as well as strengthen relations between both countries.

“We must therefore consolidate our joint efforts to address all the current and emerging security threats affecting both countries. This is due to the grave and unintended consequences of allowing such threats to thrive in our environment. Clearly, this underscores the collective resolve of our Presidents to continue to promote peace and stability in our respective countries. I strongly believe that both countries will surmount the similar and varied security challenges and even emerge stronger and more united.”
In his remarks, Minister of the Territorial Administration, Republic of Cameroon, Mr. Atanga Nji Paul, declared the readiness of Cameroon to continue to work with Nigeria to intensify trans-border security along the two country’s borders citing a resurgence of attacks by Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorist groups and secessionists agitations as well as kidnapping and banditry.
He said,

“Trans-border security cooperation between our countries especially along our common borders should be a permanent feature. Due to the increasing crime wave, security chiefs from Nigeria and Cameroon should be meeting regularly because the effects of the cooperation are positive among our bilateral and trade relations”.
Present at the occasion were the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada; Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cameroon, Gen Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin (rtd); High Commissioner of Cameroon to Nigeria, Salahaddine Abbas Ibrahima; Deputy Governors of Taraba, Borno, Benue and Akwa-Ibom States who are contiguous states to the Republic of Cameroon; Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) and representatives of the CDS, Service Chiefs and Inspector General of Police.

Army abetting Fulani herdsmen attacks in Abia —Lawmaker
Okoroafor, who spoke while featuring in a radio programme in Umuahia, disclosed that some Fulani herdsmen were recently arrested in Isuikwuato council following a security arrangement put in place by the council.
He, however, alleged that an order came from the 14 Brigade, Ohafia, for their immediate release despite evidence linking them to kidnappings multiple SIM cards, charms, and army camouflage.
He said: “The council chairman of Isuikwuaito LGA held a meeting with the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, where he instructed them to leave Isuikwuato forest with their cattle. Rather than heed this instruction, they took over the forest and engaging in kidnapping, killing, and raping of women.
He further accused the Army of being indifferent to the plight of the people of the area.
“For instance, on Thursday 19th August 2021, some criminals masquerading as herdsmen blocked the road between ABSU and Ogudasaa for hours, raping, stealing, and kidnapping people.

It was during this incident that two university lecturers and other persons who are yet to be accounted for were kidnapped. Two men carrying charms, phones, and multiple simple cards and five others communicating with them, maybe to ascertain if the road is clear for them to strike, were arrested by the security architecture put in place by the Council chairman, but on the orders of the military they were released.”
The lawmaker lamented the increasing level of insecurity in the constituency with security agencies doing little to address the situation, adding that the Police Divisional Headquarters in the council has been relocated to Ovim area, close to the Army barrack while the Police post in the council has been abandoned by the out of fear.
On what he has done to draw the attention of the state Assembly as well as the State Executive council, Okoroafor explained that he has raised the issue thrice as a matter of urgent public importance at the floor of the House.
He added that even the Brigade commander, 14 Brigade, Ohafia, and other security heads have been summoned by the State Assembly, and after their deliberations, resolutions were reached for the enforcement of the ban on open grazing as passed by the legislature and assented by the executive governor.
The lawmaker, however, expressed anger that despite these resolutions, the military is deliberately abetting bandits pretending to be herdsmen and unleashing mayhem on the people of his constituency.
Lamenting that the herdsmen terrorizing his constituency are well armed with sophisticated guns, Okoroafor bemoaned the helplessness of the Vigilante groups in the area who operate with dane guns, adding that they have been engaged in intelligence gathering and reporting back to security agencies to the Army and Police.
He urged Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu to support the local vigilante and Isuikwuato local government council by providing operational vehicles for the vigilantes as well as increasing the council’s security vote to boost its capacity to tackle the rising insecurity in the area.
Contacted, the Public Relations Officer, 14 Brigade, Ohafia, Capt. Iliya Dauda, expressed shock at the allegations, stressing that the Army has been tackling the activities of the kidnappers in the Council, including rescuing victims.
He called on the lawmaker to formally tender a petition to the Nigerian Army on the allegation and assured that the military hierarchy will immediately look into it.

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