Thursday, November 12, 2009

Northern Cameroonians in Nigeria Regret Joining the Federation

Taraba Community laments neglect, mulls over the idea of joining Cameroon.

From Charles Akpeji, Jalingo MANY people in Gembu , the headquarters of Sardauna Local Council of Taraba State are no longer sure their fathers did not make a mistake. They are beginning to think the choice to be part of the Nigerian federation in the 1963 plebiscite rather than join neighboring Cameroon may not have been such a wise decision.

They now lament that their fathers opted to stay with Nigeria in spite of the attractive promises and incentives dangled before them to be part and parcel of the Cameroon Republic. Now, they say neglect and hardship have become their lot despite the breathtaking scenery, the climate and abundant natural resources the area is blessed with. But nothing may have led to the feelings of regret in the hearts of the people as the recent torrential rain which washed away their roads, flooded their homes and further isolated their communities.

The people say they were abandoned by the government to carry the burden of the devastating rain and flood alone. According to a community leader and Village Head of Mbamnga , Jauro Abubakar Usmanu, the communities ravaged by the rain and flood include Mbamnga, Mbare-Tule, Bangtericorner, Bangdown, Lep, Tapniye, Vakude, Warwa and others.

“Some of our people are quietly shifting loyalties and going back to Cameroon. We do not have a single tarred road nor is there even one bridge across the rivers in this area. We may be left with no other option than to go to Cameroon which we had earlier refused , unless urgent succor comes our way from the Federal , state and local governments.

“Since the rain and flood, we have been cut off from the rest of the world and only manage to move about in boats across the rivers which is quite dangerous." When The Guardian traveled across the communities , it was obvious there was good reason for the peoples’ anger.

As Usmanu said: “Our people may have been neglected for far too long. Though we have contributed greatly to the growth and development of both the state and the Federal Government, we have been abandoned.”

The beautiful scenery accentuated by the lush-green hills and many waterfalls notwithstanding, it was obvious that gully erosion is also a threat to the area The Village Head told The Guardian the needs of his people are not many. “I don’t think we are asking for any other things more than roads and bridges across those numerous rivers you ferried through before arriving here” said Usmanu.

“Once roads and bridges are in place, I believe growth and development will follow naturally because there cannot be meaningful growth without them. If the government can come to our aide by giving us roads and bridges, we shall not ask for anything again”

On the threat by some of the communities to join neighboring Cameroon, Usmanu said well-meaning sons and daughters of the area , which include the member representing them at the State House of Assembly, Abel Peter Diah, are working hard to pacify them. Also involved are the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC Comrade Jonah J. Kataps, the Commissioner of Environment, Timothy G. Kataps, Dr. Kara and others.

The Village Head said if their communities had been paid attention to by government, the abundant natural resources and tourism sites would have been exploited and developed for the good of the whole nation. “The failure of government in this regard is giving my people sleepless nights”, he said. One of the youths

From our news desk, source: The Nigerian Guardian newspaper

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