BY Ike Uchechukwu
The Nigeria/Ambazonian Restoration Movement, NARM, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call off the planned visit of the Governor of Southwest Cameroon to Gov. Ben Ayade, stressing that such a visit was a threat to the safety of refugees and a huge risk to our sovereignty.
Briefing journalists on Monday in Calabar, the Executive Director of the group, Hon Cletus Obun who was reacting to the visit of the Cameroonian Consul General to Ayade on August 9 to intimated him of the desire of the governor of Southwest Cameroon to visit Cross River.
Obun disclosed that the visit was wrong as it bothers on Nigeria’s sovereignty and a huge risk to the lives of Cameroonian refugees and a form of espionage.
Obun said naturally, no one would be troubled that a governor of a neighbouring nation was visiting another but that it was established in international law and diplomacy and also in the Nigerian constitution that foreign affairs was on the exclusive legislative list and was administered by the president or his delegate.
According to him “So, if as Consular General, Patrice Onono told Ayade that his visit was instructed by President Paul Biya of Cameroon to see the Cameroonian refugees in Cross River.
“It is unheard of that the president of a nation can by-pass his counterpart and engage in an unauthorized interaction with an official of that nation without the consent of its leader, in our case President Buhari.
“We perceive that there are ulterior motives behind this visit, that is why President Biya could not intimate President Buhari, instead he chose to inform Ayade who controls neither diplomatic nor security apparatus of Nigeria.
” Also, the issue of the Cameroonian refugees sheltering in Cross River is beyond the purview of the governors, unless they are acting expressly on the authorisation of the respective presidents of Nigeria and Cameroon, he said.
Obun added that International treaties existed which put the welfare of the refugees on a tripod, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) the host government and their country of origin whose duty was to make conditions suitable for those that wanted to return home.
“Therefore, peace has not returned to Southern Cameroon, we have not gotten to a stage where visits, the type proposed by the Cameroonians can be exchanged to ascertain the welfare of the refugees or demand their return home.
“Regardless of Ayade’s bare-faced fib about peace returning to Ambazonia, it is clear that President Biya and his administration have done abysmally little or nothing to restore peace in the still violable Ambazonia territory.
“Some of our demands include that the visit is called off, as it breaches international standards of diplomacy and protocols and that the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs should summon the ambassador of the Republic of Cameroon and demand the rationale behind his breach of protocol.
He said: “That any collaboration between Nigeria and Cameroon pertaining the Cameroonian refugees must involve the UNHCR, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Nigerian Commission for Refugees.
“That Nigeria increases her surveillance around her international border areas to forestall any foul play by Cameroonian authorities.
“Nigeria’s silence at this at this point is not good for its national security because if the crisis in Southern Cameroon is not checked, the impact will spill into the country especially in the border communities, ” he said.