Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cameroon:University of Buea Students’ Vandalism and Death Threats Widely Condemned !

 By Christopher Ambe
University of Buea (UB) administration is on red alert, fighting- tooth and nail -to contain a widely denounced  students’ rebellion on campus, barely three months after a similar students’ uprising was quelled there.

The UB students’ rioting -interchangeably referred to as students’ terrorism by some quarters has been widely condemned on account of their violent approach, and demands, most of them said to be unreasonable.

Armed troops deployed to help restore law and order on campus, confronted and arrested several student suspects for prosecution, especially as confrontation between students and staff, left many seriously injured and hospitalized at the Buea Regional Hospital.

The Recorder learned that alleged strike mastermind  Remmy Sigala  was arrested,May 18 and is in police custody,programmed to be arraigned with about  20 others  on May 21

 The University of Buea Students Union (UBSU)-organized rebellion, which started last week, also resulted in the vandalization, by students and reportedly infiltrated by hoodlums, of UB property estimated to cost about FCFA 100 million, bloody assaults on at least 10 staff and death threats from students directed to particular lecturers viz: Dr. Ernest Molua, Dr.Kingsly L. Ngange and Dr. Ekoka Molindo, all from the same tribe with the Vice-Chancellor, Dr.Nalova Lyonga, who has emphatically vowed that, she won’t allow student unionism  promote illegality and disorder,in the UB,Cameroon's first Anglo-saxon varsity

The riot master-minds had chased away other students who disregarded their call for the strike from classrooms.

As at the time of posting this report, reliable UB sources told The Recorder that the Faculty of Agriculture's Poultry Farm House was burnt down to ashes at about midnight, Saturday 18 . It is worthy of note tha,t Dr.Ernest Molua –one of the students’ targets, teaches in Faculty of Agriculture.

The latest act of vandalism and an alleged explosion  by some students of  a locally –made explosive, last Friday, during a football match between  Njala Quan Sports Academy and  UB Football Team, watched by the Vice-Chancellor Dr.Nalova Lyonga, sources said, is an indication that, some of the armed student rebels have merely retreated into their hideouts probably to revise their strategies and to avoid the vigilance of security agents, now still hunting for suspects on the run.

The irate students ,reportedly armed with dangerous weapons such as cutlasses and axes, had earlier burnt the car of the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Julius Ngoh, vandalized the property including computers in offices of Dr. Kingsley Ngange and Rev.Dr.Ekoka Molindo, whom they accused of working against of the interest of UBSU,by publicly testifying against them. 
Dr Kingsly Ngange , who is Faculty officer, Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, is reportedly still receiving threats in his mobile phone. But he is for now  safe. Reverend Dr Ekoka Molindo, who is the Vice-Dean, Faculty of Education ,is said to have narrowly escaped  death

Other valuable varsity property was equally damaged.  The UBSU- launched rebellion, which continues to attract sharp criticisms from authorities, many UB students, parents and the civil society, is intended to pressure the Vice-Chancellor to grant them certain demands. They include: the withdrawal of all court cases against suspect students, resit for students who did not write first semester examinations due to the previous strike action, permission for UBSU to organize elections, the award of President Biya’s scholarship to students with a GPA of at least 2 on 4, as well as the payment of 3000frs each for students willing to participate in Cameroon National Day (May 20) celebration.

The UB administration, which has always opted for dialogue as a means of resolving any crisis, in addressing the students’ worries, said it could only do what was legally correct, and called on the students to be law-abiding and responsible.

 After the February student rioting, an angry Dr. Nalova Lyonga, had revealed that the UBSU constitution has never been accepted and endorsed by the UB Administration, noting that the student union has been operating due to administrative tolerance

The previous UBSU-organized strike was intended to force the UB administration address some problems negatively affecting students’ welfare. The students’ demands included the reestablishment of on -campus businesses such as photocopiers said to have been suspended; improved online registration, dialogue with students, payment of a certain amount as youth day march past dues, speedy issuance of transcripts, extension of reading time on campus, and quality food in the restaurant.  

 Vice- Chancellor Nalova Lyonga, just as she did during the first student strike under her leadership, has strongly pleaded with the Government to help in restoring total law and order on UB Campus.

 It is widely thought that some lecturers and politicians are the brains behind the repeated rebellions on UB campus for their selfish motives.

In a February press conference, the UB Administration admitted that they had evidence that some lecturers were promoting disorder and lawlessness on campus and threatened to deal with them.

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