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Nigerian Traders Flee Cameroon En-Masse

The Will Nigeria | Thousands of Nigerian traders are fleeing crisis ravaged English-speaking regions of Cameroon, a report by Quartz Africa has revealed.

The crisis, which started as a modest industrial strike action by English-speaking lawyers and teachers against the imposition of French, has spiralled into an unprecedented internal armed conflict.

There are fears the country could slide into civil war as the conflict persists. In recent months, frequent clashes between government forces and separatists seeking to establish a state they would call ‘Ambazonia’ has left scores of civilians dead, including women and children.

The recurrent deadly confrontations have provoked mass movement of people, many of them from neighbouring Nigeria.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that no fewer than 160,000 people have been internally displaced; while a further over 21,000 have crossed to Nigeria as refugees.

In a bid to express dissent, activists have instituted a civil disobedience action called “ghost town”; which grounds daily activities every Monday, with extensions to some other key days.

Traders see the operation as economically damaging as at least one full business day is lost each week since late 2016. Those who dare defy the order risk facing the wrath of unknown arsonists who have burned down shops in nearby towns.

Restrictions of the movement of people and goods have further worsened the already deteriorating situation for businessmen. Armed secessionists called “Amba Boys” mount intermittent road blocks on-and-off along major highways in the troubled area.

The government has also had to officially close its western borders with Nigeria on at least two occasions, while dusk to dawn curfews instituted by some local administrative authorities have simply helped to worsen the precarious situation.

The conflict has also been marked by the disruption of essential utility services, especially the supply of electricity and network interruptions to telecommunication services. Internet services were cut off for 136 days between October 2017 and February this year.

Kumba, the economic hub of the South West region, located some 70 kilometres from the city of Buea, has a sizable Nigerian business community who are principally engaged in trade: selling motor spare parts, liquor, electronics, fabrics, cosmetic products, among others.

Most of the Nigerian traders in Kumba have been doing business in the town in the last two decades. But many are now considering leaving for both safety and business reasons.

They are not keen to wait to find out if the Cameroonian troubles eventually subside.

Fabric traders, Mr & Mrs Okezie, are preparing to return to their hometown in Abia State.

The husband says it has been difficult to get supplies from Nigeria over the last three months, while the whereabouts of most of their customers who took wares on credit are unknown.

“Like some of our other brothers, we just have to return home and see what life has to offer there,” he said. “Things are really tough here now and we see no way forward.”

Another Nigerian businessman who asked not to be named given the security uncertainty, said “the business environment has become extremely hostile.”

He said sales had dropped off and he no longer felt safe being in Kumba. “On at least two occasions, Amba Boys have visited me requesting for groundnuts [cartridges for Dane guns] or money to support the struggle.

Kevin Ndubuisi, president of the over 250-man strong Imo State Union in Kumba says his Nigerian compatriots have been returning in their numbers. “But no one tells you when he is returning. Some have just gone back as though they were going for a business trip but never returned.”

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19 comments

  1. We don’t want Igbo Nigeria to our land please go “kongosa “

  2. Epée Dipanda

    Now the source of free bribe for Larepublique gendarmes is leaving the uniformed officers will now turn on their handlers and bite them.
    Aluta continua.
    Ambaland must be free

  3. The traitors and non kamerunians are self evicting.

    • Let’s hope you are one day called a traitor in a foreign land just because you a foreigner/immigrant. Your inhumanity will be your downfall.

  4. the decision taken in the sixties to maintain occupation languages was a very very defective one with catastrophic consequences.more than two generations of africans was culturally uprooted by this ignorant assimilationist approach.the result is that an african born in fundong feels more closer to brutal british thieves,than to an african born in adamawa.even at the african level talking about continental economic intergration while maintaining occupation languages that maintain us in disunity does not make sense.by instotutionalizing KISWAHILI spoken by three hundred million africans above .we shall break from sychological control ,taking control of the future.the cultural confusion created by this languages cuppled with christian ignorance is disastrous

    • Epée Dipanda

      @Bah do you still believe what you write? That the reason people took up arms is because they are not allowed to speak English?
      You don’t think all the Ambazonian companies collapsed by larepublique is reason enough?
      You don’t realise the destruction of our way of life is enough to get us riled up against the wannabe colonialist?
      Get real fellow, we fight for more than the queen’s contri tok.

      • if it is not linguistic,why then do we stand on lunguistic grounds to make revendications?can we be free while constructing our thinking fruit of human immagination with the language of our enemies.japan has taken control of key industries like,camara,s,vehicles,etc from americans using japanese.look at the trade balances between the two countries,and you will see that japan has done extremely well by holding onto its language,spirituality and original system of social organization.it seems to be one of the reasons they have succeeded in tying groupe interest with company interest,producing workers who are highly commited to the company.such a system is impossible if english with its individualistic instincts was retained as language of culture,instruction,business,and sciences.

  5. Even with this development and others, the country is going to emerge come 2035.
    Loans and more loans, will be the magic wand.
    This is biyanomics and the frogs, are very excited at it.

  6. Ah ah it’s like these people are wishing a civil war on Cameroon lmao …the army is fighting against terrorists I don’t see what’s civil about that . There are millions of anglofools spread all over the country , if there was any civil war looming pogroms would have started already , so all these fake news agencies and so NGOs shouldn’t simply leave us alone , Cameroonian are not your average dumb African you order arohnd and mislead with false narratives we know what’s up . And we give you the middle finger . As for the biafrais leaving good riddance to bad rubbish . We actually need a monolithic country . Cameroon to Cameroonian . Too many foreigners already that don’t want to know their place . On every Nigerian forum u see them wishing a civil war and the break up of our country

    • [email protected] theres loads of Nigerian traders around worldwide and theres no reasonable reason to single out those based in Cameroon as negatives especially if they have been in the economy for over twenty years building up their buisness steadily and giving a posative example to others ,many families may be dependent on their bylateral(?) trading of Cameroon goods into Nigeria ( which is a much bigger market anyway to sell to) so this is not a posative move is it.

      • Last time I checked they were leaving by themselves, Cameroonian are known all over the world as peaceful human beings . So like Mbappe said they are self evicting themselves and I believe it’s good as they are showing their true colours . At the height of the biafra civil war Cameroonian showed their humanity to the Igbo who were being slaughtered like chicken by opening their doors ,borders and arms while at the same time supporting the integrity of the Nigerian federation. Now that we are facing some internal troubles you see them jubilating and calling for our country to break . I don’t care about their activities if they dint support our country they have to go . Period . Cameroonian also have investments all over we were not starving before them unlike the malnourished Igbo we helped

        • [email protected] The piece is talking about traders which are vital to make economies tick over immarerial of which country they come from ,when they go they will be missed in the economic sense plain and simple they arnt in the country because they owe us one and are happy to get poorer with closing trade routes ,which is no fault of their own and thus disintegrates their balence sheets.
          I dont see what past state agressinons have to do with individual traders at all.,surrounding countries deal with Cameroon because its always been peaceful.
          This is not a good indication immaterial of race,Building up buisnesses in a forigen country is never easy and loosing experirienced workers is never good especially when trust is a paramont requisite when credit facilites are based on it in both countries.

  7. @bah acho At times,when u write,i doubt whether u truely believe in what u are writing.May be u should start by writing in your native language,then i will take u serious.Cameroon have more than 300 languages.Which one are u going to adapt to use as your national language? U should count yourself lucky that France and Britain came and spare u the stress of struddling to look for which language to use as national language,out of over 300 languages that Cameroon has.
    Yes,we are standing on linguistic grounds to make revendications.What is wrong about that?All Our institutions, before we joined LRC was purely English.Our judicial syatem was common law,before we joined LRC,not bafor law,or bakweri law.Yes,our revendications is base on linguistic grounds.Do u have a problem with that?

    • KONGOSA….china has more than seven hundred living languages but mandarin is the national language,india the same with hindi being national language.just recently pakistan made URDU as national language,but pakistan has many regional languages like us.this examples prove that the argument of too many languages being an obstacle to a collective language is the result of indoctrination meant to hold us in subordination to the british and french.we can make KISWAHI already used in east africa as a collective language,and promote continuously.nothing will hold it from replacing occupation languages.
      so we should count ourselves lucky that the british french portuguese and spanish rapped and slaughtered millions of africans?you are a good example of an african indoctrinated human.

  8. the current british and french system of mental distruction has created a generation of africans not grounded enough in their tradition.the result is that many of us are not patriotic enough.we insult the memory of our ancestors who fought and pushed out british and french thieves.instead of working hard to reinstall our self determination by installing an african languages as language of collective construction,rejuvinating the spirituality of our ancestors,in oder to build on a solid foundation.we praise thieves for saving us from languages that have always exist,and carry our historic memory.
    revendicating anything in africa along alien languages is an insult on the memory of our ancestors.our law should be african law point.we are african people,no compromise should be made.

    • Bah Acho @ interesting topic you bring up sir,How would ,in your opinion , the promise to pay and exchange goods and services be different to other continents with African (Cameroonian specific ) trading laws ? Thankyou.

  9. @bah acho So,who are u blaming now,for not implementing any of Cameroon’s national language to be used officialy? Are u blaming the francophones that have been in power for over 5 decades,for not implementing any of Cameroon’s language as national language,or u are blaming the anglophones for refusing forced francophonisation? For now,our revendications is based on linguistic grounds.Wait when we will be in our own country,Ambasonia before blaming us for not implementing any of Ambasonian language as national language.

  10. For Nigerians, you are either with us (Southern Cameroonians) or you are our Enemy!

    • Shut up stupid biafrais who are you fooling . . We will deport all of you soon the war amd famine are over . Go back home