Abuja: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned Cameroon’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abbas Salahedine, asking him to give explanations on the reported maltreatment and killings of Nigerians in the Bakassi Peninsula by Cameroonian Gendarmes.
In a statement made available in Abuja on Saturday by the ministry’s acting spokesperson, Jane Adams, the federal government expressed dismay over the attacks said to have been occasioned by alleged non-payment of taxes on fishing activities.
“The ministry has instructed the Nigerian Missions in Yaounde and Buea, to investigate the report with a view to confirming their veracity and inform Headquarters immediately.
“The ministry appeals to the Cameroonian authorities to exercise their duty of care and protection over the people of Bakassi, including other Nigerian citizens in the area.”
A report on Friday had stated that no fewer than 97 Nigerians were killed as Cameroon Gendarmes allegedly attacked residents of Bakassi over failure to pay a N100,000 boat levy. The report said the attackers sacked mainly Nigerians from Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Ondo States.
Many others were however said to have escaped at midnight with their fishing boats and arrived at Ikang in Bakassi and Ibaka in Akwa Ibom.
Nigeria ceded ownership of the peninsula to Cameroon in 2008.
The killing and sacking of Nigerians in former Bakassi is a violation of the 2005 Green Tree Agreement (GTA) by the Nigeria-Cameroon Mixed Commission.
The agreement stipulated that the Bakassi returnees must be properly resettled to their natural homes so that they can have a meaningful living.
The GTA also states that Nigerians who choose to remain in Cameroon can do so without any molestation.