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Monday, January 7, 2019

Ambazonia: how leaders were arrested at Abuja hotel on January 5, 2018, Nsoh Nalova Bih speaks out


My name is Nsoh Nalova Bih, I was 1 of the 12 Ambazonian activists who gathered at the Nera Hotel in Abuja on January 5, 2018. Here is MY STORY on how we were abducted, why I was not taken to Cameroon with the Nera10 to face bogus terrorism charges

On that fateful day, we had gathered in Abuja to discuss the growing refugee crisis in the Cross River State of Nigeria caused by the war that President Biya had declared on the people of Southern Cameroons.

The group consisted of Profs, Lawyers, Teachers: Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, Prof. Awasum Augustin, Dr Henry Kimeng, Deacon Tassang Wilfred, Dr. Fidelis Ndeh-Che, Dr Conerlius Kwanga, Dr Ogork Ntui, Eyambe Elias, SHUFAI Bliase, Nfor Ngalla Nfor, Dr OJONG & myself.

We had barely settled downed when a group of unidentified heavily armed men appeared, handcuffed and blindfolded us, and took us to an unknown destination. All i could remember was that we drove for hours.

When we arrived at our destination, all I can remember is that I was still with the 11 others. Our abductors then took us from the car, one after the other. I was searched & taken to a cell. This was a Friday.

On Monday morning, a girl walked in and blindfolded me then took me to a dark room where I was questioned. I refused to answer. I was fingerprinted, and my picture taken.

Two wks later, I was once again blindfolded and taken to a car where I realized that I was with the other 11 male ACTIVISTS. I knew who they were despite the blindfold because I recognized them from their voices.

When we got to our destination, we were told to remove our blindfolds, which we did. We were then ushered into a building which turned out to be the offices of UNHCR Nigeria. This was on January 18, 2018.

Being at the UNHCR was a huge relief given that 4 of the abducted activists were legally recognized Refugees in Nigeria, while 6 others had their applications pending, the coming of the UNHCR was a relief.

Nigeria assured us that they were working with the Nigeria government to secure our release. This was the first confirmation that the Nigerian government was behind our abduction, although we still did not know why.

On Jan 25, 2018, at about 4pm, I was again blindfolded and taken to a car where I heard the voices of my friends again. We drove for quite a while before getting to our destination.

Upon arrival, we were asked to remove our blindfolds & behave. Only then did we realize we were on our way to Nnamdi Azikiwe Intl. Airport, Abuja. When Sisiku Ayuk asked where we were going, we were told "back home". We didn't know what home meant.

When we got to the airport, a Cameroun military plane was waiting for us. We realized we'd been abducted by military & held by the Defence Intelligence Agency. How could we fight back? They were heavily armed & looked ready to shoot anyone who resisted.

When we were ordered to board the plane, Dr. Ojong  objected saying 2 among the 12 activists were of Nigerian descent, that is, he and myself. The BIR officers alighted from the plane and insisted that they had come to pick up 12 not 10 of them.

After hours of discussions, 2 of us were finally left behind while the 10 others boarded the plane. The Nigerian govt had just violated its own laws, while unhcrnigeria had failed in its mission to protect the vulnerable asylum seekers.

Dr. Ojong and I were taken back to the DIA and locked up until Feb. 20, 2018 when we were finally transferred to Asokoro police station.

On Feb. 25, 2018, I had a miscarriage while in detention. I was 3 months & 2 weeks pregnant. It was due to this miscarriage that I was granted bail on a 1-million-naira bond  and had to be reporting to a Police Station.

Our abduction & the forcible/illegal transfer of 10 of us to Cameroon was a watershed moment that violated Nigerian law, international refugee law, & basic human rights. This travesty must be corrected with #Justice4Nera10 via their immediate and unconditional release.