By Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe
I am a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I say so because legally, I am still a staff of the university, having my name still in the nominal list and with no document declaring my dismissal. I was the pioneer Director of Centre for Igbo Studies at the same university. I am currently the Director, Nigerian Civil War and Genocide Research Network
.In 2016, following the looming danger of the overt islamization policy of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and his obvious soft spot towards the incessant killings of Christians by his ethnic Fulani armed killer-herdsmen, I decided to legally challenge the constitutionality of such actions.
The case was filed at the Federal High Court, Asaba in Delta State under the following title: Suit No: FHC/ASB/CS/2016 between Dr. Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe for himself and on behalf of members of Nigerian Civil War and Genocide Research Network Versus President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; the National Assembly; the Senate President; the Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.That was my crime against the Muslim-dominated Federal Republic of Nigeria, and for that reason, I was marked out for elimination. It was in the bid to escape from the security agencies supported by some Muslim elements that I got involved in a ghastly accident leading to the near invalidation of my two legs, the reason I still walk with the aid of clutches. It was for that reason that I was smuggled out to Republic of Cameroon on Saturday, June 2, 2018 through Oron to Limbe. From Limbe, I proceeded to Yaounde (Cameroon) where I reported at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for registration, and was consequently issued an asylum-seeker status with the following numbers: Case/HoH ID: 417-18C00698 and Numero d’enregistrement: NIG/0001/18.On arriving Yaounde, I received initial support from Rev. Father John of St. Toby St. Olinga Catholic Church, Mbankolo, Yaounde and later the Caritas Association of Christ Roi Du Tsinga Catholic Church, who paid for my two-day hotel accommodation, gave me cloths, and money prior for my registration with the UNHCR. Not long after, there was an attempt by some unknown men to kill me in the hotel safe the timely intervention of the hotel security official who sneaked me out through the back door. From Yaounde, I fled to Bamenda to my friend and former colleague at the Department of History and International Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, but now, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Bamenda, Prof. Canute Ngwa who gave me some money and advised me to leave the country because of the state of insecurity arising from the Amazonian separatists.From Bamenda, I went back to Younde and then to Duala where the Igbo community gave me some money and advised me to leave the country immediately because of possible secret elimination by Nigerian security agents working with Cameroon. Not knowing where else to go and having escaped a second time from attack in the hotel the Douala Igbo community put me, I just boarded the only available bus around midnight without knowing where it was going, only to find myself in Bafussan the following morning.From that point, I requested for information on how to get to Central African Republic border. Based on advice, I boarded a vehicle that took me to Bankin, Banyo, Tibati, and then Ngaoundere. From Ngaoundere, I moved to Garoua-Mboulai where I was advised against entry into Central African Republic because of the religious crisis. I was therefore forced to move from there to Bertoua and then to Batouri in Eastern Region with the hope of crossing to Congo Republic.I traced again to Batouri the night I arrived where a group of Muslim refugees from Central African Republic was commissioned to lynch me for being an enemy of Islam. I eventually took refuge in an open local toilet throughout the night before a benevolent man handed me over to the local Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church first took me to the Police who rejected me, and then to the UNHCR office where again I was rejected on the excuse that the Representative was out of station.I later fled to the local Protestant Church where the Pastor refused to accommodate me, but instead commissioned a local commercial motor bike rider to sneak me out of the town for safety. The bike man however dumped me in an unknown local village that night and invited my assailants who again chased me into the unknown bush. I slept in the bush till the following morning and then sought refuge at the local Catholic Church.
The Rev. Father instead invited the Gendermarie who arrested me and locked me up in the cell for nine days at Batouri.At the cell, I was condemned to death under the insurgency agreement of President Buhari and President Paul Biya, his Cameroonian counterpart; that agreement required that opposition members in one country that cross over to the other should be executed. I was however saved from the execution by the benevolent Christian commandant who drove away the executioners from his station when they came to carry me for execution.
Thereafter, while in the cell, several attempts were made to murder me by importing Muslim youth into cell with knives. All through the nights, I never stopped shouting, disclosing my identity as a university lecturer and not a terrorist to the embarrassment of those who attempted to eliminate me under the guise that I was a terrorist. On June 24, 2018 I was unilaterally released by the English-speaking orderly of the commandant on the orders of his boss to the chagrin of the local Muslim guards posted to forestall my release, vowing to shoot me if I did not leave the compound and shooting anyone who dared to challenge him. He ordered me to move to the Protestant Pastor who, when I got to his house, was afraid to accommodate me. He instead opted to put me in what I describe as a suicidal hotel, since the hotel had no fence and no night staff except a Muslim security man.In the night, this security man attempted to lock me from the outside and my timely intervention saved me from instant lynching. That was when I decided to flee, and the third pursuit which lasted all through the night began. I eventually slept in the bush, and the following morning, I was taken to the UNHCR office in Batouri by a benevolent motor cyclist.
The UNHCR eventually took me to the Batouri District Hospital where I stayed for the next 31 days- June 25 to July 25, under protective admission during which I faced constant threats of lynching right inside the hospital.I was later taken to the Bertoua Regional Hospital for the radiographic examination of my fractured leg. There again, I was thrown out of the hospital after two days for no reason other than being an enemy of Islam. I finally found my way to the UNHCR office from where I was taken to Bertoua Refugee Temporary Camp where I stayed for three days before the decision to return me to Yaounde was taken. I was eventually issued a Central African Republic identity paper with which I was able to escape back to Northern Nigeria but not without further bitter experiences.I then moved from Bertoua to Garoua-Mboulai and crossed into Central African Republic with the plan of moving to Bangui, but I was deported the following day back to Cameroon. Thereafter, I decided to risk a northern passage through Nigeria, which definitely worked out under the miraculous act of God. From Garoua-Mboulai, I moved to Ngaoundere and then to Garoua from where I moved to Maroua, from where I moved through the Boko Haram-infested area of Republic of Cameroon and entered Nigeria through Gamboru.I stayed in the refugee camp there for two days, first by the benevolence of the hospital staff and later by a soldier who sent me back to the hospital after I was driven out by the staff. After two days of waiting for clearance for a Boko Haram-free trip to Maiduguri, I landed in Maiduguri, slept in a refugee camp there. I was able to collect some money from my Keystone Bank account miraculously, since my bank account had been marked as “a wanted person.
“From Maiduguri, I moved to Kano and then to Sokoto from where I moved to Ile Ila border town and eventually crossed to Niger Republic and landed at Birnin N’Koni, from where I moved to Niamey (Niger Republic). From Niamey, I moved into Burkina Faso, from where I entered Ghana through Bitou and landed at Bawku in Northern Ghana, from where I moved to Accra. In Ghana, I was issued an asylum-seeker status after four months of registration.In Accra, I was able to establish contact with my people in Nigeria and told them that I was still alive. From that point, I received a little assistance from my people at home. However, the security and blackmail became so severe in Ghana that nobody was willing to accommodate me. I was forced to sleep under the Kwame Nkrumah Fly Over with other homeless Nigerians engaged on night trading.
Nwaezeigwe, PhD, DD, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, @ Exile in Kigali, Rwanda Director, Nigerian Civil War & Genocide Research Network E-mail:email@example.com