By Andy Esiet, Calabar
As the crisis between Southern Cameroon and the Cameroon government lingers, Cross River state government has raised the alarm over security concerns in the state especially from the Ambazonian separatist group in Southern Cameroon.
The state currently plays host to over 50,000 refugees displaced in Southern Cameroon due to the conflict going on there and the state governor, Senator Ben Ayadewhile playing host to the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson on Thursday in his office in Calabar, decried the lack of collaboration between the state and Britain in various strata of development
Ayade shared Cross River’s security concerns with the visiting diplomat, including threat posed by the Ambazonian separatist fighters in Southern Cameroon which shares boundaries with the state and solicited Britain’s assistance in the areas of security in form of institutional support, technical training “or any form of collaboration that can actually isolate Cross River knowing that we are a border state between Nigeria and Cameroon and is at the front of the war zone.”
He stated that Cross River rather enjoys roboust collaboration with other countries even when Britain is Nigeria’s traditional ally given the historical colonial ties between both countries.
Ayade said, “in the course of my stay in office as governor, I have seen that there has been very little deliberate effort from your embassy to get close to the grassroots. Perhaps you are the first to visit us as an official of the British embassy and to us this is very exciting.
“We have had relationships with other countries in different sectors including Agriculture, maritime business among others but this is not the case with Britain. And this ought not to be so given Nigeria’s history with Britain as our colonial master. So your visit therefore, should open up the opportunity for greater collaboration between Cross River State and the United kingdom.
“Experience has shown that relationship with the national doesn’t distill perfectly to the sub national. So your visit to a sub national at the state level gives you a true perspective into the issues and problems of the Niger Delta.”
On his part, Aktison who extolled the splendour and beauty of Calabar thanked the governor for hosting her and team and commended his government’s strides in infrastructure and industrialization.
Recall that the state government had recently through the Director General (DG), Migration and Control Agency, Prince Mike Abua, raised the alarm over the high rate of about 200, 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in the state seeking federal government and international intervention.