The abduction of Ambazonian leaders: Conflicting interests haunt the conscience of a federation 0

The prolonged holding of the President and prominent members of the Ambazonia interim government by a Nigerian Security Outfit after their abduction more than a week ago, underscores the dilemma facing the Nigerian government.  The bungled operation was intended to be an assassination project blamed on alleged individuals from Ambazonia opposed to the interim government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. A claim of responsibility for the crime would have been made shortly after the assassination. The Federal Government would as it is required in such circumstances have condemned the assassination and promised a swift and efficient investigation to fish out the assassins.   Ambazonian refugees in Nigeria would have been the primary targets of these investigations. Till this moment, the Federal Government of Nigeria has not come out with a comprehensive statement taking responsibility for the abduction and providing the reasons for the abduction. The inability of the Federal Government to make a comprehensive public statement on the matter portray the Federal government in very bad light. That an abduction occurred  in Federal Capital territory, and seat of power without an official explanation, portray a negative image of the Federal government, its security and intelligence network with a mission to provide security to Nigerians and persons on the territory of Nigeria. If anything, an anxious analysis of the abduction appears to portray a miasma of conflicting interests whose unintended outcome if not well controlled, may haunt the soul of the soul of the federation for long.

It comes as no surprise that several French Cameroun’s intelligence operations with a mission to assassinate Ambazonian leaders and thousands of refugees in Nigeria are coordinated from its Embassy in Abuja and Consulate in Calabar. Some infiltrated military defectors whom we wrote about in a previous publication were deployed to join in a coordinated planned operation to abduct and assassinate our leaders.  Others are French Cameroun’s certified Boko Haram hostage facilitators/negotiators with close links to the political Islam power base in Northern Nigeria and Northern French Cameroun. The ailing Ahmadou Ali and Isa Tchiroma Bakary are among the key members of this crime syndicate. 

The prosecution of the war against Boko Haram and facilitating/negotiating hostage release is the Alibaba war chest on which the political empire of these zealots is built and sustained within and across national frontiers.  Paul Biya and his Beti ethnic controlled neo-colonial army have benefitted from this war by corruptly amassing enormous wealth and by selectively deploying mainly Ambazonian and Bamileke military commanders and soldiers to be slaughtered. There is a disproportionate number of soldiers from these communities killed through sabotage operations or as war casualties. The same trend occurred during French Cameroun’s military deployments to Ambazonia territory of Bakassi. The same trend is occurring in the ongoing war of aggression against Ambazonia.  Ambazonia is a cash cow for French Cameroun’s warlords’ crime syndicate.

The declaration of war against Ambazonia was not intended to keep cameroun one and indivisible, because it has never been.  There is no international law and treaty base or justification for the existence of such a union. The war is intended to provide another opportunity for Paul Biya and his ethnic dominated army to mobilize resources on the precious blood of Ambazonians to enable him eternalize power and control over Ambazonia’s mineral and natural resources economy. French Cameroun citizens mobilized against Ambazonia for defending its citizens and its territorial integrity are mere puppets in the hands and control of the sanguinary butcher Paul Biya to attain his personal political power ambitions.

The Ambazonian revolution and its revolutionary leadership under President Sisiku Ayuk Tabe stood on the way of Paul and French Cameroun’s continued colonial annexation agenda. For this, Paul Biya initiated a plan to abduct and assassinate them in Nigeria. For this to materialize, he needed the complicity and support of influential power brokers within the corridors of power and security operatives within the intelligence services.  This required an elaborate corruption scheme for the success of the operation and it’s cover up.

 If the purpose of the abduction was to investigate an alleged violation, a summons, an invitation or a warrant properly obtained and executed would have fulfilled that legitimate rule of law purpose.  They needed all Ambazonian to be in one place to facilitate their abduction and execution. The delayed flight schedule of Millan Atam and his late arrival at the venue of the meeting where the abductions occurred changed the fate of the operation.   He eluded abduction upon being informed of the fate of the President and members of the interim government who were with him.

Political assassinations are a common fixture of the Nigeria society. This one would not have come as a surprise to most Nigerians although Ambazonians would have held French Cameroun accountable.  The corruptive implications of some people within the Nigerian security and intelligence community would have been alleged but not that of official Nigerian government involvement. The official involvement of the Federal Government would not have been reasonably contemplated considering that the abductees are persons of considerable weight internationally who were legally in Nigeria and their respective residences were well known to Nigerian security and intelligence services. The interim President had just returned from a trip from the United States of America passing through Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja. Millan Atam travelled from South Africa passing through the same airport.  The Federal Government would never have been reasonably suspected of being behind or complicit in the assassinations had they occurred as planned.

The failure of the operation left the Federal government struggling more than a week after to find a justification for the abductions. It still has not, underscoring the enormity of the embarrassment and confusion. The Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs lacked the appropriate words to characterize the abduction; telling newsmen who confronted him about the abduction that he had met security units who conducted the operation and did not know whether it as an arrest or an invitation to the abductees to submit to investigations which were ongoing.  The answer provided by the Hon Minister underscores the embarrassment caused by the abductions as well the dilemma the Federal Government finds itself in on this matter.

It is possible that several units of the Nigerian intelligence and security community were not aware of the operation or were not informed after it occurred. It is also possible that several members of the Federal Government, possibly the President were not aware either.  The surprise evident in the cursory information provided by the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs points in that direction. This was unusual because intelligence sharing is a critical security operational imperative.  The fact that neither the Attorney General of the Federation or the Inspector-General of Police made a statement on the abductions may also be a credible indicator.

The silence by the French Cameroun government through its genocide apologist and prominent member of the Boko Haram facilitation/negotiation criminal network Isa Tchiroma Bakary is a result of it’s total frustration for the failure of the operation and its fallout.  In the aftermath of the failed operation, French Cameroun struggled to have the captives delivered to it but again this option failed. The request for Nigeria to deliver the abductees to French Cameroun in violation of international law, its national legislation and its constitution had it occurred, would have attained the same objective for French Cameroun of having them executed through a court-martial. Although, manifestly illegal, that would have at least whitewashed the execution process as an exercise of sovereignty by both nations. Judicially whitewashed assassinations and executions are standard practice in French Cameroun. This is not an acceptable policy in Nigeria under civilian rule where the rule of law is the pillar of Nigerian democracy and the legitimacy of its Federal institutions.  Complicity in handing over Ambazonian leaders to a sanguinary genocidal regime would have stained the soul of Nigeria and provided a precedent for similar treatment to be meted out to Nigerian citizens worldwide. Nigeria prides itself as the giant of Africa and must not be influenced by French Cameroun to support its campaign of genocide against Ambazonia and Nigeria citizens on the territory of Ambazonia.

Nigeria must not forget so soon that the ICJ Bakassi Judgment left the question on the determination of nationality unresolved and thus outstanding.  It was and is a sensitive matter touching on the life of the Federation.  Politicians from Cross River State as well as their peers in all the border communities continue to raise this matter in the Nigerian Senate and the House of Representatives. French Cameroun gendarmes and soldiers continue to massacre these civilians without any concrete attempts on the part of the Nigerian government to abate the criminal and provocative attacks on this civilian population.

French Cameroun conceded before the ICJ that the citizens on the disputed territory of Ambazonia were Nigerians. Lately one of French Cameroun’s ethnic genocide ideologue Enoh Meyomesse in a widely publicized article stated that Ambazonians fighting back in self defence against French Cameroun aggression were Nigerians and should be exterminated. One Owona Nguini another ethnic genocide ideologue echoed the same sentiments.  A television channel TV4 closed to the crime syndicate in power called Ambazonians rats, a colonial governor called them dogs and a colonial proconsul ordered Ambazonians in Manyu county to vacate their ancestral homes and close all human and economic activities within the county. Considered with the massacre and harassment of citizens whom French Cameroun conceded at the ICJ were of Nigerian nationality and required protections afforded by international law, and the ongoing genocide in Ambazonia aimed at Ambazonians of the same ethnic affiliation, must Nigeria continue to play the Ostrich while the genocide continues unabated?

 The question that Nigeria must consider seriously in deciding which side to support in the ongoing genocide in Ambazonia is, with the nationality issue deferred by the ICJ unresolved, with the common ethnic and nationality composition of the declared war zones, with over two million Nigerian citizens facing the genocidal onslaught of French Cameroun, will Nigeria aid the genocide of Ambazonia and with it that of its ethnic nationalities?  Where does the moral compass direct Nigeria to pitch its tent of national and human dignity and continental relevance in preventing an ongoing genocide at its door steps?

The declaration of war aiming the border communities with Nigeria and consistently closing the borders with Nigeria and violating the international borders with Nigeria were calculated acts of provocation against Nigeria. Should Nigeria reward these acts of international brigandage and criminality by supporting the genocide against Ambazonia? Nigeria pursuant to the Greentree Agreement, must give the criminal invader French Cameroun, an ultimatum to withdraw its forces to its borders at independence on January 1, 1960 which is at the River Mungo and nowhere near the war front within the Nigerian border communities which is within the territory of Ambazonia. Nigeria must additionally obey the Judgment of the Federal High Court Abuja that enjoined Nigeria to take the Southern Cameroons case to the UN and other international courts for adjudication. Nigeria cannot legally recognize or support the criminal activities of French Cameroun in Ambazonia in violation of the Judgment of its own Federal High Court Abuja. Were that to occur, then the rule of law on which the soul of the Federation is anchored will be significantly violated. 

 By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai

Chairman and Editor-in-Chief

Cameroon Concord News Group