The once economically bouyant Shell Creek settlement in Bakassi is now a shadow of itself following a strange fire which engulfed the area on Wednesday night breaking Thursday.
The inferno destroyed administrative structures built by the Government, shops as well as personal homes forcing the population to flee for safety.
The cause of the unfortunate incident is not yet known, but local authorities suspect a criminal hand emanating from rival Nigerian communities in the area.
When Roland Ewane, the sub divisional officer of Idabato arrived the scene Thursday to evaluate the level of destruction and extend a hand of fellowhip to the affected population, a deserted locality far from its usual hussle and bussle welcomed him.
One would have quickly concluded, the area was observing a ghost town if not for the remains of the fire incident which wrecked the area.
Far from ascribing it to Separatist fighters, the local civil Administrator told MMI that, vandals from Nigeria who often disturb the zone allegely ignited the fire.
To him, the structures targetted all point to a deliberate act. “Most of the losses concerns houses built by the Cameroon govenment, over 60 of them have been identified” he said.
He regretted that, the area which was a major commercial fish hub has drastically lost its steam due to the incident. “This was a business centre and many people have lost their shops and sources of livelihood. Every one has escaped.”
He however did not tell us whether investigations will be opened and if the affected population will be compensated.
The accused individuals are yet to react to the allegations.
The Shell Creek settlement has for many years haboured the Ibibios and Oron people from Nigeria, who have been in permanent conflIct to dorminate trade in the area.
In the face of the situation, the D.O revealed that words have been sent to the leaders of both communities. The two communal heads will together with Cameroonian authorities find a common ground for peacful co-existence.
The Shell Creek area, rebaptised The Emergent Town suffered a disastrous fire incident on Boxing Day 2015, leaving two persons dead and 1500 people homeless.
Government later disbussed 250 million to the fire victims for the reconstruction of more resistant homes.
South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai justified the change of the town’s name on the basis that, Shell Petroleum Company which had drilled crude oil in the area for years left no socio-economic souvenir on the population. Locals have however struck to the area’s traditional name.
Mimi Mefo Info