The group, Bakassi Returnees and Displaced Nigerian Citizens, led by its coordinator, Prince Aston-Joseph Inyang, Friday took to the streets of Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital in a peaceful demonstration against the inhuman treatment of kinsmen by Cameroonian authorities.
The protesters walked through major streets of Uyo and finally terminated their protest at the office of the National Human Rights Commission, along Nwaniba Road by 2 p.m., where they lodged a formal complaint.
They bore placards of different inscriptions some of which read, “Bakassi people need proper resettlement”, “we want our kinsmen released from the Cameroonian prison” and “federal government should rise and intervene for our kinsmen” among others.
The coordinator of the group said they were out on a peaceful mission to register their grievances against the inhuman treatment of the Bakassi people by the Cameroonian government.
The coordinator who alleged that there had been constant threats to life by the Gendarmes however denied any killing of his kinsmen by the security agencies in that country.
He said most of the deaths recorded so far were as a result of denial of their fishing rights in the high sea and maltreatment, leading to psychological tortures and deaths.
He said: “About a month ago, the Bakassi people were evicted from Cameroon as result of high taxation demanded by the Cameroonian authorities. Notwithstanding, some flew to Ikang in Cross River and others flew to Mbo local government area of Akwa Ibom state.
“I look at it that nobody was killed or shot by Cameroonians, the people did not attack with bullet, but why our people fled was because of their past hostile manner.
“So, at the moment the high taxation was announced for people to pay various sums of money, our people could not guarantee their safety in the hands of the authorities.”
He said the height of the hostility was the abduction of four of their community leaders two weeks ago by the authorities, whose whereabouts were yet to be ascertained.
He called on the Commission and the federal government to put in place a machinery to end the threats of the Cameroonians.
In his response, the state coordinator of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Tony Iyi, said the issues raised by the group were very serious ones adding that they needed to be guided on how to go about them.
He called on them to always obey the constitution of the Cameroonian authorities in order to leave in peace.
Next Edition… Always Ahead!