Reps Probe ‘Killing of 97 Nigerian Fishermen’ in Bakassi by Cameroonian Forces

The House of Representatives yesterday ordered an immediate probe into the alleged killing of 97 Nigerians by Cameroonian Gendarmes in the Bakassi Peninsula.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion brought under matters of urgent national importance by Babatunde Kolawole entitled: “Alleged killing of 97 Nigerians by Cameroonian Gendarmes” at the plenary presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

The House directed the Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje-led Committee on Foreign Affairs to probe the issue and report back to the House for further legislative action.

While moving the motion, Kolawole made reference to media reports stating how 97 Nigerians were murdered in cold blood in the Bakassi peninsula by the Cameroonian Gendarmes due to their inability to pay a N100, 000 levy on each fishing boat.

This, he said was in spite of the clauses in the Green Tree Agreement (GTA) signed between Nigerian and Cameroonian governments which protect the citizenry in the ceded areas from harm.

He further recalled that besides the recent murder of Nigerians, there were reports of harassment, rape and killings of Nigerians perpetrated by the notorious Cameroonian Gendarmes over the years.

The lawmaker lamented the inaction of the authorities, noting that it behooves the authorities to curtail the senseless killings and harassment of Nigerians in the Bakassi peninsula.

The move by the legislators is apparently to draw the Federal Government from its current passive mode and cause it to intervene decisively in the incessant harassment of Nigerians living in the Bakassi Peninsula by Cameroonian Gendarmes.

Acknowledging the fact that the Federal Government had summoned the Cameroonian ambassador over the matter, Kolawole stressed the need for the House as the people’s parliament to send a clear signal to the Cameroonian authorities.

“We can’t sit and watch as a people’s parliament while the lives of our citizens are wasted with impunity. If nothing is done to stop this ugly development, the lives of other Nigerians would be at stake as the Gendarmes may continue to kill them at will without the fear of recriminations,” he said.

Elendu-Ukeje who spoke in the same vein urged the lawmakers to exercise restraint since the issue is still in the realm of speculations.

She said the outcome of the investigation should be used as the basis for the required action by the authorities.

Dogara who expressed support for the position canvased by Elendu-Ukeje subsequently referred the motion to her committee for further investigation.


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