As Cameroonian officials denies Bakassi mascara report
The issue of Bakassi and Boko Haram dominated discussions Thursday when Nigerian government and their Cameroonian authorities met.
Cameroonian President Paul Biya dispatched a three man delegation to the country to discuss issues of mutual benefits to both countries.
Dr Joseph Dion Ngute, Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the delegation that was received by Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria Minister of Foreign Affairs in Abuja.
At a joint briefing at the end of their closed door meeting which lasted about 45 minutes, the visiting Minister denied the recent report of massacre of Nigerians by Cameroonian gendarmes.
He said there was no iota of truth in the report; saying that Cameroon is a law abiding country and no such thing would ever happen.
He said: “I was sent here by President Paul Biya to come and meet with the foreign Affairs Minister of Nigeria to discuss a number of subjects that are mutually beneficiary to both countries.”
On the reported killing of over 97 Nigerians, the minister said, “We also came to inform the government of Nigeria that a month ago, we had reports in the media concerning massacre of people in the Bakassi area. We sent our administrators and we even asked Nigerians Counsel in Bua to accompany them. They went there and they realize that not a single person was touched, nobody was injured, nobody was killed and it was a fabrication which appeared in the media, which we don’t know why and for what purpose. But we came to reassure the government and Nigerian people that Cameron is a law abiding country and no such thing would ever happen under our watch.”
On Boko Haram, he said both countries have been working perfectly in trying to clip the terrorists group.
According to him: “We came to discuss the situation that afflict North Western part of Cameroon and North-Eastern part of Nigeria concerning the fight against Boko Haram. It really to say that the two countries have been working perfectly in trying to make sure that this evil group is completely alienated.”
He also denied the report that his country maltreated Nigerian refugees; saying that they have protested to UN human right commission.
“You know been a refugee is a very difficult condition. We in Cameroon are very sensitive to the issue. If you visit our own camp where we have about 60,000 refugees, you will see for yourself that they are being given the most humane treatment that we in Cameroon can give and can afford along with the UNHCR.
“We were a bit surprise by that report and we take exception to it. We drew the attention of the UNHCR that in Cameroon we have been abiding by the law and have been doing everything we can because these refugees unfortunately, are the same people whether they are in Cameroon or in Nigeria. It is the same families that across both borders. It is even difficult to distinguish one from the other because they are the same people and we have been doing our best to give them the best possible treatment and we know that our brothers and sisters of Nigeria agreed within us that we have been doing our maximum in order to make sure that refugees who are already under a very difficult circumstances do not get any worst treatment from anybody.”
Ngute also briefed Nigeria on other issues of interest, especially in the English speaking part of Cameroon, including resolving the strike action.
“The first of the issues is to inform Nigerian authority that for some time we had so e issues with the English speaking region of Cameroon and to tell the minister and the good people of Nigeria that those problems have been resolved. The trade union that went on strike is back to work. The situation has been normalized and to thank our brothers and sisters of Nigeria for the understanding they have showed throughout this episode. We have obviously numbers of radicals who don’t want to see things from the way most people see them,” he said.
He also said he was very pleased with the responses he got from his Nigerian counterpart; adding that “It shows that the two countries are working in and the cooperation between us is very good.”
Onyeama on his part denied any distrust between countries, saying “on the contrary both countries are extremely close, working together very closely and I think sending this delegation by the president himself, shows the importance he attaches to that relationship.
“And we are also keen that this should trickle down to average Nigerian and Cameroonian. And I think by and large it does. But we also have to be careful of social media where you can have a very small minority of people generating a narrative that is not in any way reflective of the reality.”
He was also quick to recall the recent cooperation between both countries in the fight to reclaim territories under Boko Haram in the North East.
“You will recall that Cameroon is fighting shoulder to shoulder with our soldiers against Boko Haram. And in fact their intervention in that fight was very important and decisive,” he said.