The issuance of free identity cards kick-started in Ako sub Division a week ago amidst controversies and tension. Yet politicians have decried the influx of Nigerians in some border villages to acquire Cameroon free identity cards. In the border sub Division of Ako, local politicians especially of the opposition are scared as they claim that hundreds of Nigerians spotted at Abuenshie, Abafum and Buku areas. It is feared that the laiser-faire could facilitate the infiltration of some members of Boko Haram. However, source concocted sources hinted that the strategy to issue free Cameroon identity card to some Nigerians living along the borderline was masterminded by some politicians. But CPDM section President for Ako refuted the allegations and said that his party had never made such an attempt to import foreigners to vote for them.
Ako Sub Division in Donga Mantung Division is an Island on land giving the encalved nature of the border villages. In Ako, 18 villages speak the same mother tongue “dialect” with 16 other villages in Nigeria. This according to what we gathered at the border village of Abafum makes things very difficult for the identification team to distinguish who is a Cameroonian and who is not. In the villages of Abafum and Buku where an alarm was raised that Nigerians were acquiring free identity cards and registering massively, the story is not only about politics. The truth is that though these two villages are in Cameroon, the economy is directly in the hands of Nigeria giving that the people use the Nigerian currency “Naira” and not the Cameroon Franc (CFA). It is a common phenomenon says Peter Ashie that they of the border villages have double nationalities. Yet politicians are crying out that since the issuances of identity cards go with voter’s registration, it is a pretext to rig elections. Allegations are rife at that over 50 Nigerians used the opportunity to acquire Cameroon identity cards yet the Fon of Abafum said the information is baseless and faulty. On the other hand the Divisional Officer for Ako says it is very difficult to know who is Cameroonian and who is not giving that the people speak the same mother tongue, have the same culture and also carryout inter-marriages.
But when SDF Parliamentary aspirant for Ako stormed Abafum, he defied the myth to pick out some Nigerians who were already holding identification forms and we cued up to be issued Cameroonian identity cards. He raised an alarm and suggested that all the forms should be collected. And when the forms were collected back, he (with the help of the team from Nkambe) proceeded by calling in every applicant and asking the name of his/her village, the name of the councilor and the fon, anyone who could not give a correct response was disqualified and requested to bring witnesses who would testify. It was at this moment some of the Nigerians who were trying to obtain the identity cards escaped. Speaking to this reporter, John Okie said that contrary to the young men who were trying to obtain Cameroonian identity cards were small business men who wanted the identity cards to escape from police and gendarmes harassments. But another authoritative voice hinted that it was a well calculated strategy by some CPDM bigwigs to import voters.
It should be recalled that during the launching of the free identification exercise in Ako town, Ho. JK Ntoi clashed with SDF Parliamentary aspirant Shiwa David. According to what we gathered, Hon. Ntoi was annoyed that young Shiwa David told the population that he (Shiwa and Hon. Awudu) lobbied for the free identification process in Ako. Hon. Ntoi Joseph who claimed he and CPDM Mayor for Ako, Emimi Emmanuel had raised over 1.5 million FCFA and handed to the Senior Divisional Officer for Donga Mantung Ngone Ndodemesape Bernard for the team to move to Ako was aghast. Hon. Ntoi we gathered almost engaged in a fight yet Shiwa David stood his ground. It needed the intervention of Ngone Ndodemesape for flaring tempers to calm down. Upon arrival in Ako, the SDO for Ako is quoted to have told Hon. Ntoi that the funds he (Hon. Ntoi) and the mayor contributed was given to the court to ease their movement to the field to issue free nationalities and that the presence of the identification team in Ako was thanks to Shiwa David. Public opinion in Ako has been why the identification post in Ako was closed yet we gathered that the Ako identification was closed due to rampant issuance of Cameroonian identity cards to Nigerians and not Residence Permit as requested by law.
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