Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Buea: Mayor Victorious in Case to Construct Modern Council Office in Disputed Land

By Christopher Ambe Shu

The Mayor of Buea, Charles Mbella Moki, has emerged victorious in a case pitting the Buea-based National School of Penitentiary Administration (ENAP) against Buea Council over a strategic piece of land in the center of the town.
Mayor  Moki:making a point.
The land in question is owned by the State of Cameroon and is adjacent to ENAP.
But because of its strategic location, the Mayor of Buea earmarked the said piece of land for the construction of an ultra-modern council office worth 400million francs.
And construction work actually started two weeks ago when ENAP claiming that the piece of land in question belonged to it, caused the Senior Divisional Officer for Fako (SDO), Bona Ebengue Fran├žois, to issue an injunction on the disputed area. An SDO, by regulation, is manager of state land within his jurisdiction.
The Fako SDO then convened a crisis meeting bringing together the quarreling parties-ENAP and Buea Council, which are both state institutions and other authorities in charge of land matters, to ascertain the true legal owner of the disputed area.
But investigations proved that in 1986 Buea Council had applied for the said area to build a market but did not fulfill the requirements to become its legal owner. It also emerged that, in 2001 ENAP also started the process to legally own the piece of land, but did not go through.
In delivering his judgment after hearing the warring parties, scrutinizing land documents and visiting the site, the SDO for Fako ruled in favor of the mayor for the construction of a befitting council hall.
Bona Ebengue was convinced that the construction of the council hall there would not disturb in anyway the smooth functioning of the ENAP.He even disclosed that ENAP will be moved to its new site near Muea in Buea subdivision soon.
 Before the SDO’s ruling favoring the mayor, the Paramount Chief of Buea, retired Justice SML Endeley, was worried that the SDO had issued an order stopping the construction of the council hall, and as such, led his council of notables and met the SDO, during which he publicly backed the mayor’s decision to build the council hall at the chosen location.
It appeared that if the SDO did not finally approve the construction of the council office on the chosen but disputed area, Buea residents would have staged street demonstrations to back the mayor; for they have been waiting to witness the realization of the council building project, which their mayor had promised them and later secured the funds for its realization.
The construction of the council hall is scheduled to take less than one year and is one of mayor Moki’s key projects in his almost ten years in office.
An elated Mayor Moki expressed thanks to the SDO for being development-oriented and equally to ENAP Director, Immaculate Fonkem, for consideration
“The council hall is a jewel for the people of Buea.The building will have a 300-seat hall and another 100-seat hall. It will have the office of the mayor. It is a two-storey building, which upon completion will look like a mountain. Let me tell the people of Buea that not all the services of the council will be transferred here,” the mayor told journalists on the site minutes after the SDO gave the go-ahead for the construction.
The construction of the council hall is taking off just when the mayor has launched the elaboration of Buea Council Development Plan in partnership with the National Community-driven Development Program (PNDP).And GREMPCO, Buea has been chosen as the local support organization in realizing the plan.

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