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On Cameroon & Nigeria, UN Hides Behind UNHCR Statement

On Cameroon & Nigeria, UN Hides Behind UNHCR Statement

By Matthew Russell Lee

(From yesterday's issue) I wanted to know: Is there a UN systemwide as… as these… I know that there's biometrics. There's all kinds of data being collected. Spokesman: I'll check on this WFP report." Then, nothing. On January 16, Inner City Press asked Guterres directly, video here, UN transcript here: Q: Matthew Lee, Inner City Press, on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, hoping for more question and answer in 2018... On Cameroon, you visited, I know, in late October. Since then, some Anglophone leaders have been arrested… or abducted in Nigeria, where I know your deputy was. I wanted to know what the UN system is doing about this now cross-border problem. SG Guterres: "Well, as a matter of fact, in relation to that, we have done several initiatives, and some of them even led to the release of people, and we will go on engaging with all the states involved." So on January 18, two days later, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you again, because there have been… I don't know if it's true or not. There have been some reports that, in her time in Nigeria, she did inquire in some way into the case of these ten Anglophones, Cameroonian leaders, abducted in Nigeria 12 days ago. Is… and I know that the Secretary-General made some… made sort… he said generally that there are… Spokesman: As I said, if I had an update, I would give one to you. Inner City Press: What about the Global Compact? You'd said that you would check with the Global Contact about China Energy Fund Committee -- Spokesman: I would need to check on that." Hours later, nothing on either issue. Today's UN is corrupt. Inner City Press on January 15 asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I want to… to ask you again about the… this now 10-day disappearance of southern Cameroonian leaders in Nigeria. You know, each time you've said you're unaware of it. It's getting more and more coverage. It seems to be a regional issue. And I noticed that… that the Deputy Secretary-General… now it says she's on leave. She was there for a week in Nigeria. And I'm just wondering to ask you again, in that week, did she find the time to ask the Nigerian Government…Spokesman: As I said, if I have anything on this, I willshare it with you. Inner City Press: Is Mr. [François Louncény] Fall doing anything? I mean… Spokesman: As I said, if I have something to share with you, I will." And then: nothing.From January 12, video here, UNtranscript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you again. Now, Amnesty International has spoken out about - it turns out it's 10 independence leaders of the anglophone regions of Cameroon as they've put it that were abducted in Nigeria more than a week ago, and they've said… Spokesman: I don't have anything new on that. Inner City Press: I guess… because I see pictures of Amina Mohammed with the Government of Nigeria and I'm just wondering has she brought it up to them? Spokesman: I have nothing new on that at this point." This is the AI statement: "Ten leaders of the independence movement in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon could be at risk of torture and unfair trials if extradited from Nigeria, where they have been arrested and detained in secret for one week, Amnesty International said today. On 5 January, armed men in plain clothes stormed a hotel in Nigeria's capital, Abuja where the activists, all members of the pro-independence Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC), were meeting, and arrested them without presenting a warrant or providing an explanation. They are being held incommunicado, without any access to a lawyer, in contravention of Nigerian law which demands they must be seen by a judge within 48 hours. Human rights lawyers in Nigeria have said that an extradition request has been made by the Cameroonian government, but no details have been made public. "By holding these activists in secret, without charge, the Nigerian authorities are failing to respect both national and international law. If they are extradited to Cameroon, they risk an unfair trial before a military court and the deeply disturbing possibility of torture," said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria." So where is the UN and Amina J. Mohammed? On tour with and praising Nigeria's government, of course. On January 11, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'd asked you on Monday about this abduction of nine southern Cameroon leaders in Abuja. So, it's… they were taken out of a hotel, you know, by armed men. So, I'm wondering… I was wondering even in Chamb… I was wanting to see if Mr. Chambas, who I know covers Nigeria… what's the UN system… you said that you're aware of it and trying to monitor it. Spokesman: We have not seen any confirmation or not… we have… we're still looking at the situation, but we've not seen any official or been made aware of any official confirmation since the incident's happened. Inner City Press: Well, The Guardian has a quote from a Nigerian official saying they did take them into… into custody, and there's a big concern that they'll be extradited to Cameroon but my question… Spokesman: That's… that's… yeah. Go ahead. I… Inner City Press: Since I've seen that Amina Mohammed's schedule says that she's in Abuja for the entire week, meeting with Government officials, it seems… I guess I'm asking you, did she… has she asked them if they're responsible? It's a disappearance. Spokesman: I have nothing else to add." Nothing. With Ayuk Tabe still "disappeared," Inner City Press is re-publishing a few of his responses to its questions back in November. Inner City Press asked him if he thought the "One Nigeria" policy of Antonio Guterres, his (Nigerian) Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed and envoy Chambas impacts their view of Southern Cameroons / Ambazonia. Ayuk Tabe noted the lack of transparency for Guterres' meeting with Paul Biya in late October; when Inner City Press asked of Biya's Ambassador to the UN bragging about Amina J. Mohammed's position on Biafra, Ayuk Tabe replied that then she does not have the correct facts. Now in Abuja, she is silent. Reports including from Lagos indicate that Nigeria's Department of State Security is responsible - this while UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed, previously Buhari's environment minister signing 4000 certificates for endangered rosewood from Nigeria and Cameroon already in China, is in Abuja. Now the Lagos-based African Bar Association has written to Nigeria's Attorney General demanding, in 48 hours, the release of what it calls these Cameroonian refugees. One might think that Antonio Guterres, previously the head of the UN's refugee agency UNHCR and about to release, pre-spun, a migration report on January 11, would have something to say and more importantly do. But no - nothing. Total failure. There had been no answers from the UN, to Inner City Press' January 6 questions - so it asked at the January 8 UN noon briefing, video here, transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you something… actually a couple of things that I'd asked you in writing on Saturday. One has to do with the… the detention or abduction of disappearance of nine southern Cameroon… or Ambazonia or Anglophone leaders in Abuja. They seem to have been taken out of a hotel where they were meeting, either by Cameroon forces or by Nigeria. And I know the Deputy Secretary-General is in Abuja. Maybe it's a coi… it's… I'm just wondering, given that the UN has called for dialogue and that these people have been locked up…? Spokesman: Her presence was scheduled in advance. We're, obviously, aware of the reports. We've not been able to get any official confirmation one way or another, and we're going to continue to monitor the situation. Question: I guess two que… one is, has Mr. [Francois Lounceny] Fall made any inquiries? Number two, I understand that she'd obviously previously scheduled this week-long trip to Abuja, but given that she's meeting with senior Nigerian officials and given that there are reports that the Nigerian Department of State Security is responsible for…? Spokesman: As I said, we're trying to get some sort of official confirmation one way or another, and we'll continue monitoring the situation." Monitoring? So this is not a threat to international peace and security? (To be continued)

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