Over 300 stranded at Nigeria-Cameroon border in C’ River
Mudiaga Affe, Calabar
There had been escalating crisis in Cameroon over move by the Anglophone (English speaking people) of the southern part of the country to secede following alleged marginalisation by the Francophone north.
It was observed at the Mfum border on Friday that several people including traders, students and other passengers who wanted to cross the border on both sides were stranded.
Some of the stranded commuters described the development as inhuman and very frustrating.
A student in Business Management and Technology in Boyah, Precious Ezinnewho, who said she was returning to Cameroon from Nigeria, decried the hardship posed by the border closure.
She said she had spent over a week waiting for the border to be re-opened and complained that most of the stranded commuters did not understand the reason for the closure.
Another traveller, Festus Obun, lamented they were already facing challenges of feeding and paying their hotel bills as they have spent all they had.
“We call on the authorities concerned to take steps to re-open the border so that we can reconnect with our families and carry out our legitimate businesses,” he stressed.
A house wife, Mrs. Caroline Lerinwith, who is travelling with her two children, said she was travelling from Nigeria through Cameroon to Gabon to join her husband after spending the holiday with her children in Nigeria.
She said she had gone through difficulties with her children, calling for urgent steps to re-open the border.
A trader, Ike Uchechukwu, said traders had incurred great loses as goods had started going bad, adding that he was not sure when the border will be re-opened.
The priest in-charge of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Ikom, Rev. Fr. James Mgbadowho, who has been harbouring some of those stranded, confirmed that they were stranded because of their inability to return back to Cameroon.
“The church has also played host to some stranded Congolese who crossed from Cameroon to Nigeria as a result of the crisis in Cameroon. About seven persons are still under our care, out of over 30 people that were there.
“The church is also harbouring some tourists from Argentina who are on transit to Cameroon. We will continue to play our role by giving people hope in spite of the challenges,” he said.
The Cameroon Consul in Nigeria, Mitchell Atangana, could not be reached for comments as calls placed to his mobile phone rang out.
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