Simon Ateba: Long before COVID-19, I learned how unpredictable life could be in a cell in Cameroon

969FollowersFollow

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. We invite you to donate to our fundraiser to help us keep our quality news free and available to all.  

When I was arrested in Cameroon and thrown into a dark cell after I was accused of spying for Boko Haram terrorists while investigating the living conditions of Nigerian refugees in Chad and Cameroon with grant money sent by Ford Foundation in the United States, I met some suspected terrorists in the cell.

Inside there, it was not clear when it was day time and when it was night. We defecated in front of one another. When someone got food, we all shared it. As someone who was now used to heavy fufu, amala or egusi in the commercial city of Lagos in Nigeria, the food impoverished family members were bringing the detainees was like poor man’s food.

It was like drinking water mixed with plants or leaves. It was tasteless but with no choice, I enjoyed it.

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

ateba
Simon Ateba

I had heard horrible stories about what happens to people in the cell and I could not sleep for days. But the guys there, they had been arrested so many times for other small crimes that they were really at home and cracking jokes.

Inside the cell, we were one. The small, poor man, tasteless food was enough for us. We had a common enemy, the person keeping us inside.

Just before I was arrested, Cameroon had passed an anti-terrorism act that gave broad powers to the military and the presidency in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon.

It’s been five years now. The Radio France International correspondent who was arrested days before me is still languishing in prison after he was given another decade in 2017.

I am not advocating that anyone here should go to prison as you may go there and die, but you will learn gratitude after prison and poverty more than you would ever learn many other ways.

You know, I have lived long enough, and got white hair by the way, to know that whether here in Washington DC where I am writing this, or over there wherever you’re reading this, the truth remains that I am so grateful I had all the experiences that I had and came out victorious.

I learned long before coronavirus that anything could end there and now. I learned to live for days without electricity and I learned to have all my money and assets in my back pockets for years. I thank God for poverty.

I used to think it was a bad thing that I was born in an environment that had little. But now, I realize it was a great experience. I have met people who worship food, who pay too much attention to cars, and other little things that can be here today and gone tomorrow.

They are so selfish that to give someone back home $50 even when they have it, it’s like their lives would just end. They have never been challenged and forced to eat dust to understand that even little food is a blessing. I thank God.

[/read_more]

Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

Amnesty International outraged over Ethiopia’s decision to ban protests against ethnically motivated killings

Ethiopian authorities have banned peaceful protests against ethnically motivated killings which were due to take place on October 28, in direct...

Joe Biden wins last presidential debate against Donald Trump

Joe Biden was surprisingly aggressive, it was perhaps the best debate he has had in 2020.Republicans...

Nearly 60 million Americans have already voted representing 43% of total votes counted in 2016

At least 59.3 million Americans have already voted, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project, putting the 2020 elections on track to...

What the Joseph Robinette Biden presidency would mean for Africa – Perspectives by Simon Ateba

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., the 47th vice president of the United States in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2017, is...

Finally, Nigerian President confirms killing of peaceful protesters

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday confirmed the killing of peaceful protesters in the country last week by security forces.

Nigerians in USA hold protest against bad governance and police brutality in their home country

Nigerians in the United States on Saturday held a protest against bad governance and police brutality in their home country, shed...

Damning report finds detainees in Iran were sexually abused and given electric shocks in gruesome post-protest crackdown

Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials have committed, with the complicity of judges and prosecutors, a catalogue of...

Rights group urges governments to support South Africa and India’s proposal on COVID-19 vaccine access and affordability

Governments should maximize Covid-19 vaccine access and affordability for people worldwide, and those funding vaccines with public money should be transparent about the terms...

Trump administration blocking selection of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become first African WTO head

The Trump administration on Wednesday blocked the appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the first African head of the World Trade Organization...

Amnesty International accuses Nigerian authorities of attempting to cover up Lekki Toll Gate massacre

Amnesty International on Wednesday accused Nigerian authorities of attempting to cover up Lekki Toll Gate massacre.The organization...

South Africa deputy president rejects corruption allegations against him as investigators arrest 11 people for fraud

The South African Deputy President David Mabuza has rejected corruption allegations against him, following the arrests of 11 people who worked...

More than 90% of all votes counted in Texas in 2016 already cast, 72% in Florida, 76% in Georgia, 72% in North Carolina and 32% in Pennsylvania

At least 75.1 million Americans have already voted, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project, putting the 2020 elections on track to...

Buhari urges Nigerians to unite amid mounting tensions triggered by police brutality

President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja appealed to Nigerians to desist from actions and comments that could jeopardise the unity and...

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in self quarantine after COVID-19 exposure

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has begun a period of self-quarantine after COVID-19 exposure, the presidency said in a statement on...

Rights group urges governments to support South Africa and India’s proposal on COVID-19 vaccine access and affordability

Governments should maximize Covid-19 vaccine access and affordability for people worldwide, and those funding vaccines with public money should be transparent about the terms and conditions attached, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Thursday. The rights group said governments should support India and South Africa’s proposal to waive some aspects of global intellectual property (IP) rules to enable large-scale manufacturing and make vaccines affordable...

[/read_more]

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

error: Alert: Content is protected !!
Share
Tweet
Share