Extradition of Arrested Ambazonian President and Co to Yaounde; Why Nigeria Cannot Afford to Compromise her Interest on the Issues at Stake
Following the taking into custody of the President of Interim Government of Ambazonia, Ayuk-Tabe Julius and 9 of his collaborators by the Department of State Services (DSS). Many La Republique du Cameroun (LRC) song birds and anti-restoration forces have been gallivanting on social media and on television stations singing songs of victory of how the leaders of the “secessionists’ terrorists” have been arrested. In fact, a pro-genocide television channel in LRC’s Capital, Vision 4 already reported that the arrested leaders are already being ferried to Yaoundé, while Francophone panelist in a political debate program on Afrique Media tv, on Sunday afternoon were already thanking the Nigerian government for her collaboration in the arrest of the leaders of “destabilization of Cameroun”
While Ambazonians wait for the next developments relating to the matter in the days ahead, BaretaNews tries to point out why Nigeria cannot afford to compromise her interest on the present independence restoration crisis in Southern Cameroons Ambazonia.
Many analysts, have continued to argue from a Yaoundé perspective that, the agitations for a sovereign state of Biafra by Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) have placed Nigeria in a difficult position of either deciding to support “secessionists” in Cameroun, and then allow Biafra to secede, or drive out Cameroun’s “secessionist” leaders from Nigeria to justify her crack down on Biafra agitators. Our readers need not to be reminded that the case of Ambazonia is completely dichotomous to that Biafra. The present crisis in Ambazonia that has displaced more than 40000 Ambazonians into Nigeria as refugees is a visible international case of 21st century colonization of a black country by her own neighbor.
Nigeria understands this very well and the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, while receiving LRC’s colonial minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization last November 2017, is reported to have in diplomatic language maintained that Nigeria is committed to respecting the territorial integrity of Cameroun, and however requested a frank and inclusive dialogue to resolve the outstanding issues poking the crisis between the two Cameroons. Has the frank and inclusive dialogue taken place since then? If no, why then should Nigeria arrest President Ayuk-Tabe and co, and to hand them over to LRC as many of their citizens are being made to believe and celebrate?
The Southern Cameroons revolution is not a domestic affair. It is not a secessionist movement. It is an international crisis, rooted in international law in which Nigeria is also included. It is a struggle to dissolve an illegal union. The international diplomatic community understands this and had long called on the colonizer to engage in a frank and inclusive dialogue based on the root causes of the crisis. The Southern Cameroons revolutionary leadership has all times proven to be ready, but Yaoundé has continuously played the time card up to this moment, while in the main time committing genocide in Ambazonia. That is why 40000 Ambazonian refugees are in Nigeria.
Consequently, by arresting the leaders of the revolution, it doesn’t mean Nigeria is under any compulsion from LRC to extradite H.E Sissiku J. Ayuk-Tabe, and his collaborators. LRC has proven to the world that she is not a State of law and so there can never be a fair judicial process for these persons with legitimate claims, who have already been labeled as terrorists. The trial of civilians in military tribunals, the massacres of September 11th, October 1st, and the constant military harassments and summary executions of Ambazonians (all because of their right to self-determination), are testaments to this fact. The rising refugee crisis which is a headache to the Nigerian government is evident.
Nigeria, as the giant of Africa and the most hospitable neighbor of Ambazonia has more to gain if this crisis is handled from its root causes. Of course, we don’t need a prophet to prophesy that on the dialogue table, Ambazonians themselves shall determine their destinies and the results are obvious.
Apart from the fresh virgin business and investment climate that will come with restoration, Ambazonia will offer the opportunity for the resettlement of the UN declared Stateless People of some Bakassi communities, who have now become a burden to the resettlement efforts of the Nigerian government. It is important to note that, unknown to the Nigerian legal team that there was no Act of Union between the two Cameroons that unified in 1961, LRC had floored Nigeria at the ICJ over the ownership of the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula.
The ruling that seceded the Peninsula to the Republic of Cameroun and the subsequent Green Tree Agreement that enforced the court judgment, had displaced some Nigerian communities along the border. The people in these small communities, who were Nigerians prior to the ICJ judgment, the UN now calls them Stateless citizens. With this, one is tempted to ask the question; if after the work of the UN Cameroun-Nigeria Boundary Commission and the UN could not declare these people as Nigerians or Camerounians, but as Stateless People, where then is their own State?
Nigeria is Aware of the present realities:
With the internationalization of this revolution, the Nigerian State is now very much aware that the 1961 unification between the two Cameroons remain illegal before international law and the UN. Therefore, LRC’s claim of ownership over Southern Cameroons and particularly Bakassi was an act of pilfering, encroachment and colonization. In addition to this, Justice Roseline Ukeje of the Abuja Federal High Court, ruling in 2002 on the suit pitting Dr. Kevin Ngwang Gumne led SCAPO and SCNC against the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, held the Nigerian government should honour its treaty obligations under the African Chatter on Human and People’s Rights, by taking up the case of the Southern Cameroons with the UN, ICJ and other relevant international agencies.
The escalation of this revolution and the declaration of the AU of her ready to mediate in a dialogue in which the two states – LRC and Southern Cameroons would maintain their boundaries obtain at independence, therefore makes the job of Nigeria easy. It is common knowledge that, La Republic du Cameroun’s boundary as at independence is located at River Mungo, in the Southern Zone of Ambazonia and at Matazen, in the Northern Zone of Ambazonia.
From the above analysis, BaretaNews concludes that, so long as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, remains a state of law, and especially rooted in the practice of the Common Law system, President Ayuk-Tabe and others arrested cannot be illegally ferried to LRC over night. All legal processes must be logically followed, especially as there exists no extradition treaty between Yaoundé and Abuja. In the course of such legal processes, the facts behind the issues at stake shall obviously raise their heads in court again and we do not think a 2018 judge of the Abuja Federal High Court will want to reverse the ruling of Justice Roseline Ukeje, of the same court in 2002.
James Agbor, BaretaNews Political Analyst