Connect with us

News

Reps condemn C’River invasion by Cameroonian militants

Published

on

The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, called on President Bola Tinubu to urgently deploy military forces to the Okwa community in Cross River State to protect the nation’s territorial integrity and ensure the safety of her citizens following an alleged invasion by bandits from neighbouring Cameroon.

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

Consequently, the Committees on Defence, Foreign Affairs, Security and Intelligence were mandated to oversee and ensure the effective implementation of the measures, maintaining vigilant oversight on the protection of the Okwa community and the interest of the nation at large.

These resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent importance titled, “Threat of invasion of Okwa community, Boki Local Government Area by Cameroon,” sponsored by the member representing Boki/Ikom Federal Constituency, Cross River State, Mr Victor Abang.

Advertisement

The House noted that there was a high-level threat and security concern in Okwa community, adding that on December 11, 2023, heavily armed individuals, suspected to be of Cameroonian origin, invaded the community, shooting sporadically, issuing threats to burn down the community, and prohibiting locals from accessing their farmland without any provocation.

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

It also noted that “this distressing situation” followed the summary execution of Chief Ogweshi Ongwele, the Clan Head of the Belegette Clan (a neighbouring community) in the Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State, on December 5, 2023.

The House said 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.

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

Advertisement

The House 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.

It noted this was not a case of 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.

The House worried that “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.”

It was concerned that “if immediate and deliberate actions are not 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.”

Advertisement