Following the security challenges perpetrated by members of the Boko Haram sect, over 15,000 residents of Ashigashiya, Ngoshe, Jubrili and other hilly communities in Borno State have relocated to Cameroun.
Our correspondent, who accompanied the state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Zanna Umar Mustapha, with other senior public functionaries to Ashigashiya, Jubrili, Agapalwa, Chikide, Barawa and Khurum, observed that over 15,000 Nigerians have crossed over the river boundary between Ashigashiya and Cameroun and vowed not to return to the country.
They were said to have claimed that security personnel were fond of harassing them. But some Christian leaders said the allegation was not true.
The Christian leader in Barawa, Revd James Ayuba, said the security agents deployed in the areas carried out their responsibilities according to the rules of engagement.
Explaining why the people relocated to Cameroun to the deputy governor, a resident, Abdul Ashigashiya, alleged that many residents of Ashigashiya, Ngoshe and other villages along the border had been killed by men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) since the declaration for the state of emergency in the three Northern states.
He said: “I have lived in this community for the past 50 years and I have never seen one of my people who killed his/her fellow human being in the name of religious, but it is unfortunate that Nigerian soldiers are coming into this community killing our people that they are members of Boko Haram sect.”
Ashigashiya said the residents would only return to their villages if the state government assured them that the soldiers would no long attacking them.
Another resident, Mallam Sidi Ali, described the people of Ashigashiya as lovers of peace, adding that immediately the declaration of the state of emergency by the Federal Government, over 10 people were killed in the community, including a principal of Government Secondary School, by the JTF.
Two Ministry of Agriculture workers, Suleiman Dalhatu and Abubakar Talamu, were among those who fled to Cameroun. They claimed that they had lost many of their relations to the JTF attack.
A teacher, Mr. Musa Hassan, said: “We are ready to return to Nigeria if the government can protect us from both the Boko Haram and JTF attacks.
“We are really suffering, as you see me now, I am a teacher. I don’t have anything to eat with my family, we relocated to this village for over three weeks now, we have nowhere to stay not to talk of what to eat.”