Judex Okoro, Calabar
A group, Nigeria Ambazonian Restoration Movement, NARM, has kicked against the planned visit of the Governor of Southwest Cameroon to Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River, saying it’ is against international diplomacy and a threat to Nigeria’s sovereignty.
Besides, the group maintained that it poses great risk to the Cameroonian refugees in the country.
The Executive Director of the group, Mr Cletus Obun, who stated this in Calabar while reacting to the last visit of the Cameroonian Consul General to Ayade on August 9 to intimate him of the desire of the governor of Southwest Cameroon to visit Cross River, condemned such actions as it bothers on security of the nation.
Obun said ordinarily there is nothing wrong when a governor of a neighbouring nation visited another, but contended that such visit must be in line with the established international law and diplomacy.
He stated that in the Nigerian constitution, foreign affairs is on the exclusive legislative list and is administered by the President or his delegate.
According to him, it is unacceptable for a Consular General, Patrice Onono, to have told Ayade that his visit to see the Cameroonian refugees in Cross River. on the directive of President Paul Biya.
He said: “It is unheard of that the President of a nation can by-pass his counterpart and engage in an unauthorised 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.
The Executive Director 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.
Insisting that peace has not returned to Southern Cameroon just as it has not gotten to a stage of exchange of visits, he said: “Regardless of insinuations that
peace is returning to Ambazonia, it is clear that President Biya and his administration have done abysmally little to restore peace in the violable Ambazonia territory.
“We, therefore, demand that the visit be called off 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.
“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.
“We also call on Nigeria government to increase her surveillance around her international border areas to forestall any foul play by Cameroonian authorities.”
He further called on Nigeria governemnt to speak out on the crisis in Southern Cameroon to avoid spillover effect into border communities.