In Nigeria, Anglophone Cameroonians turn to low paid labour
August 3, 2018
Thousands who fled a government crackdown on protests struggle for basic necessities in neighbouring Nigeria.
With a hoe and a machete, the 34-year-old asks locals if they have any work for her on their farms.
She weeds or breaks cocoa pods.
“I get paid between 500 to 1000 naira ($2 to $4) a day,” she tells Al Jazeera as she works the soil in a small vegetable field. “I never tasted this kind of suffering when I was in my village in Cameroon.”
Obi, a mother of six, is among over 180, 000 Cameroonians who fled their homes following a violent crackdown by the Cameroonian government on Anglophone separatists who declared independence from the French-speaking majority on October 1.
More than 21,000 people have crossed the border to Nigeria, according to NGOs, though local emergency officials say the number could be higher, at up to 50,000.
Tensions rose in late 2016 with a strike by barristers and then teachers, both of whom were protesting against the use of French in schools and courts in Cameroon’s English-speaking northwest and southwest regions.
More protests followed in major cities in the regions, with local residents joining rallies.
As calls for either integration or autonomy grew louder, the government stepped in with heavy-handed tactics.
Security forces were deployed to the regions; protests were met with violence, arrests and killings. Hundreds of homes were razed.
The Ambazonia Defence Forces and other rebel groups sprang up and fought back, and armed separatists kidnapped civil servants, torched government buildings, and killed soldiers.
We left everything behind and fled to the forest. My husband tried to go back and gather some things and he was killed.-
STELLA OBI, REFUGEE FROM CAMEROON
Most Cameronian refugees settled in Cross River state, which has a border with southwest Cameroon.
In Agbokim Waterfalls village, Obi and thousands of refugees have little or no access to food, medicine, education, clothing, drinking water and sanitation facilities.
Nkemnji Global Tech
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