Nigerians reportedly drowned while fleeing from Cameroonian troops in Bakassi - Goeffrey Onyeama
- Some Nigerians reportedly drowned as they fled their homes and headed for the Ikang Jetty, following threats from a divisional officer (DO)
- Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs Geoffrey Onyeama at a hearing before the House of Reps stated that the incident allegedly occurred after a new DO was deployed to administer the Bakassi general area
- New taxes were imposed by the DO on resumption of duties and sanctions were placed on residents for violation of the tax rules
Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed that due to a fear of forceful compulsion to pay taxes, some Nigerians reportedly drowned while running from Cameroonian soldiers, The Cable reports.
Onyeama stated that even though the incident was confirmed by community elders, they could not provide any proof of the claims.
Legit.ng notes that the minister made his statement while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs headed by Nnena Elendu-Ukeje.
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Onyeama who was represented by Olusola Enikanolaye, permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, further stated that there was no evidence that Cameroonian gendarmes killed 97 Nigerians.
Speaking about the drowning incident, Enikanolaye disclosed that the episode allegedly took place after a new divisional officer (DO) was deployed in July 2017 to administer the Bakassi general area at the Idabato sub-division.
He stated: “On assumption of office, the new DO commenced the imposition of new taxes on the residents after a meeting with all the chiefs.
“Accordingly, all men engaged in fishing and other business activities in the area were to pay N55,000, women 30,000 and churches N50,000 per annum.
“Furthermore, taxes on packets of fish were raised from N200 to N1,000. Butchers were to pay N1,000 per head for goats slaughtered by them.
“The sanctions placed on the residents for violation of the tax rules include seizure of their boats and payment of 200 percent of the initial tax.
“This accounts for the N100,000 which was hitherto heralded in the news and initial reports as the amount of the tax to be paid by Nigerians.”
According to Enikanolaye, when the DO threatened to use force, some Nigerians fled from their homes and headed for the Ikang Jetty.
They reportedly drowned on their way.
He stated: “Unfortunately, the leaders who confirmed these assertions to the team had no corpse of persons drowned in the incident as proof of the manner of death.”
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Legit.ng previously reported that the Foreign Affairs Ministry summoned Cameroon’s high commissioner to Nigeria, Amb. Abbas Salahedine, to give explanations on the report of maltreatment and killings of Nigerians in the Bakassi Peninsula by Cameroonian gendarmes.
A statement by the Ministry’s acting spokesperson, Mrs. Jane Adams, expressed dismay over the incident which was said to have been occasioned by alleged non-payment of taxes on fishing activities.
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