16, January 2018
The UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed’s emergency meeting on the arrest of the Interim President of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and 9 of his top aides in Nigeria showed Abuja “the world is watching” its actions.
Madam Amina Mohammed reportedly called the meeting during her recent trip to Nigeria after acknowledging that the UN was following closely the developments in Anglophone Cameroon. Nigerian President Buhari and members of his administration had privately praised the anti-Ambazonian action carried out by the DSS and had also settled down for an extradition.
But the UN and the African Bar Association and some other interested parties said Africa’s most powerful nation had no business weighing in on the crisis in Southern Cameroons. The leadership of the African Bar Association based in Lagos, Nigeria was quoted as saying that the Nigerian government should applaud the courage of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and the Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia and amplify their message portraying their struggle for self determination as a human rights issue that is spilling slowly but surely over into the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nigerian elected representatives have complained openly that the Buhari administration was dragging a nation focused on domestic security issues into what they called a foreign matter. Nigerian foreign missions in several other countries have expressed reservations about whether it was right to detain the Ambazonian leaders.
Nigeria is aware that the UN charter empowers the Security Council to “investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction,” and the lawyer representing the Ambazonian Interim Government is not alone in thinking the Abuja arrest qualified.
Our West Africa Bureau Chief, Kingsley Betek who contributed to this report said the Buhari administration says it is their responsibility … to assess whether the presence of the Interim Government leaders on Nigerian soil could become a threat to Abuja’s peace and security.
The UN boss was given assurances that Nigeria was designing a preventive measure to avoid further escalation of violence in Southern Cameroons. Abuja is expected to publicly call on the Francophone dominated government in Yaoundé to set up a process to address any serious human rights violations and hold accountable anyone involved.
At least 755 people have been killed and hundreds arrested amid the anti- French Cameroun government protests and unrest. Up to 42,000 people have fled to Nigeria, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The outspoken governor of Cross River State has urged the Nigerian Federal Government to react carefully with all the vigilance required. A legal auditioning of the leaders is expected to begin soon.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai