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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nigeria’s kidnapped teens feared to be abroad

Women’s mass rally in capital demands government try to ‘return’ them to families 

Sources say that some of the 230 school girls abducted from Nigeria’s North-Eastern town of Chibok more than two weeks ago have been transferred to neighboring Cameroon and Chad.
 
Some villagers near the Nigeria-Cameroon border indicate that they have seen girls on board buses heading to Cameroon. Other reports given to the BBC say a ‘bridegroom’ of a girl has been spotted: a bride price of 2000 Naira ($12.50) has been quoted. A local source in Cameroon told World Watch Monitor he confirms similar reports. 
 
Hundreds of people, mostly women, marched to the National Assembly in Abuja; the capital of Nigeria. The demonstrators handed a letter to the President of the Senate calling on the government to do more to secure the release of the schools girls abducted by suspected Boko Haram militants.
 
The President of Senate, David Mark, addressed the crowd and promised to look in to their demands..
 
The rally organisers, a new movement “Women for Peace and Justice” calls for the Nigerian government to mobilise every resource to bring back the girls. 
 
The semi-desert north of Cameroon has become a safe haven for Boko Haram militants operating in Nigeria. On April 4, a Canadian nun and two Italian priests were kidnapped after a group of armed men stormed their small parish and ransacked church buildings before heading toward Mora, near the Nigeria border. 
 
Reports of the transfer of schoolgirls were also confirmed by a member the Chibok Elders Forum. Dr. Pogu Bitrus told the BBC that some of the teenage girls had been spotted being taken in lorries and canoes across the borders into Cameroon and Chad.
 
On April 14 Boko Haram militants stormed Chibok Girls Government Secondary School in the night where they overpowered the security guards before herding at least 230 of the female students onto trucks, and drove the girls (who were between the ages of 16 and 20) deep into the nearby Sambisa forest. Since then, only about 40 of them have managed to escape.
 
Chibok is a Christian enclave in the predominantly Muslim Borno State, in North-Eastern Nigeria and most of the affected families are members of EYN Church (Church of the Brethren). So for many, the abduction of the schools girls is an attack against Christians.
 
‘‘Such an attack where girls were taken away has never taken place. Even recently when they [Boko Haram militants] attacked a Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, the boys were killed but the girls were told to go away and leave the school. They never took them away. This is the first time they are taking such a number of girls in a school. So we are assuming they did so because most of the girls are Christians’’ says a local church leader, whose identity could not be disclosed for security reasons.
 
The massive abduction of school girls has plunged Africa’s most populous nation into deep outrage. On Thursday, President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been blamed for his indifference over the agony of Chibok’s families, chaired a National Security Council (NSC) meeting (extended to include State governors, security chiefs and spiritual leaders) in Abuja.
 
The Security Council tasked the Nigerian military to rescue the abducted schoolgirls. But many of the affected parents are very sceptical about the role of the army, already accused of not doing enough to rescue the missing girls.
Contacted by the BBC over the claims that the abducted girls have been taken to neighbouring Cameroon or Chad, the spokesman of Nigeria’s defence headquarters, Major General Chris Olukolade, declined to comment but said: 
 
“The concern and anxiety from all quarters is quite understandable. Please be assured that much as the forces may not disclose details of action being taken to secure the freedom of the girls, all information received on the subject is duly analysed and acted upon as necessary. No information is being ignored in the concerted effort to ensure the safety and freedom of the girls. Just pray for the successful outcome of all the efforts please.”
 
Last Thursday, April 24, Nigeria’s largest church network, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) called for prayer and fasting for the safe release of the some 230 teenage school girls.
 
The local chapter of the CAN in Borno State (where the girls were abducted) also decreed three days of prayer and fasting.
 Source:World Watch Monitor
 
 

THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO SANCTITY: MATRIMONY

 By Chief A.S. Ngwana*
Chief A.S. Ngwana
At the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And so it was, God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good.
God created man out of love also calls him to love-the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.

 God said, “Let us” make man in our image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth”
 God created man in the image of himself,
 In the image of God he created him,
 Male and female he created them.   

God endowed them with free will and intellect, and God blessed them, saying to them “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it.” The first task God gave Adam and Eve was to multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. God made them fruitful.

It was God himself who created Adam and Eve to be sexually attracted to each other. So sex is a wonderful thing created by God to be enjoyed by man for procreation. Sex is a wonderful thing ordained to life, to love and to fruitfulness. The main purpose of sex is therefore procreation.

God loaded the sexual organs with a high degree of physical pleasure and enjoyment so that the command to procreate and fill the earth would not be tenuous and difficult. Therefore sex is not merely something good, it is something sacred and holy.

This is a point that needs emphazing, this basic sanctity of sex. When the sense of the sacredness of sex is lost, the sanctity of marriage also is forgotten. Sex becomes a play thing, an exciting tool for pleasure rather than an instrument of God.

Unfortunately, man in pursuit of selfish satisfaction, and pleasure, has now inverted the proper order of things, seeking satisfaction and pleasure as an end in itself, in contempt of the good to which it is joined, and which is its aim, that is procreation

In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taugth the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the bigginig: permission given by Moses to divorce one’s wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. The matrimonal union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it: “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” 

 At first, man wanted to multiply and fill the earth and conquer it for many divers reasons, economic, political, military and other social reasons. People married many wives to have many children who could help them to achieve their ambitions. We know King Solomon who married 700 wives and had 300 concubines. Agha Ne Fon, my grand father, in North West Cameroon, had 250 wives and more than a thousand children.

In Africa, marrying many wives is still an African culture. Europeans have since made it illegal in their Criminal Codes for a person to marry more than one wife.

Jesus Christ, the Son God, Came to the World about two thousand years ago, he did not abolished the human laws but perfected them. He taught man how Human Beings should live and behave according to God’s designs.

Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond with him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social. Christ himself has invited certain persons to follow him in this life, of which he remains the model:

“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it,”

Both the sacrament of Matrimony and virginity for the kingdom of God come from the Lord himself.

Christ instituted the SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY. To assure the right use of the procreative power, God founded the institution of marriage: the lifelong and irrevocable union of one man and one woman. It was not merely for the purpose of peopling the earth that God instituted marriage, “It is not good that the man is alone,” said God as Adam slept in Eden, “I will make him a helper like himself.” It is God’s design that man and woman should complete each other, draw strength from each other, contribute to one another’s spiritual growth.

Marriage is defined as “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament”

“By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory”

Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves.

The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent; “to be free” means: they are not under constraint; they are not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law.

 “From a valid marriage arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive; furthermore, in a Christian marriage the spouses are strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of  their state by a special sacrament.”

A happily married couple enjoys a taste of heaven on earth, while an unhappily married couple is in hell on earth.

 Unfortunately, about 70% of people go to hell because of sex-related sins: Fornication, Adultery, divorce   bigamy, abortion, incest, homosexuality, promiscuity and lust.

We count on our Mother Mary, to intercede for us, to her Son Jesus Christ, to protect us against all sins of thoughts words, deeds and omission, so that we can fly to heaven  when we die.

 *Chief A.S. Ngwana is  the National Chairman, Cardinal Domocratic Party (CDP),Cameroon and a moralist

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cameroon:Massi Gams of CONAC, Lobbying, and Foreign Corruption Networks


                                  By Tazoacha Asonganyi in Yaounde 
        Many Newspapers (like The Guardian Post No. 0592 of 16 April 2014 and The Post No. 01522 of 18 April 2014) have carried reports on a seminar for journalists and civil society that held in Douala, 9 – 11 April 2014, on ethics and the fight against corruption in multinational and local enterprises/companies in Cameroon. Rev. Massi Gams of CONAC is said to have denounced foreign corruption networks in enterprises in Cameroon. The seminar came on the heels of a special report by New African Magazine of February 2014 (No. 536) titled “Solving the Great Conundrum…How Africa can own its resources;”  of a special report by Le Messager Newspaper on “The Mining Scandal in Cameroon” (No. 4046 of March 26. 2014); and of the revelation by The Divisional Delegate of Mines of Lom and Djerem that some 90 tons of gold are lost in Cameroon yearly due to illegal mining (La Nouvelle Expression No. 3694 of 25 March 2014).

      The seminar also came at a time of increasing awareness in Africa that the West, the principal owners of most multinational and local companies has continued for very many years to influence African countries for the sole benefit of the West. The West has hardly ever respected the autonomy and dignity of Africans, and has always approached business deals without any consideration for morality and mutual benefit. They always do everything to browbeat, trick, coax and bribe unpatriotic Africans to enter into deals that favour Western business interests, to the detriment of the development and dignity of Africa; and they always end up with lopsided trade, business and mining deals, with the assurance that the self-serving international instruments they have caused to be adopted would protect the odious deals. They help us to write “Visions” for our countries with ridiculous strategies and long term frames, only to turn around and laugh at us as the “Visions” become a mantra for those who think that we can wake up one day to a better country that was a mess yesterday.

      Western lobbies, secret contacts, networks, disguised sources, and mafia groups exist in African countries to serve the economic and political interests of mainly Western companies/enterprises. Most are run by local agents because locals are better placed to know which doors to knock and which barons to bribe. The histories of the defunct French oil company ELF Aquitaine and Loik Le Floch-Prigent, and of people like Mobutu, Charles Taylor, Yahya Jammeh, Pascal Lissouba, and many others are edifying for those interested in the ways of the West in business and political dealings with Africa. The exploitation of Africa by the West is facilitated by Africa’s colonial and postcolonial history, and the horrors of colonialism (and slavery), which in the main, are responsible for the continent’s lack of the requisite capital – human, financial, machinery and knowhow – to exploit its own  natural resources, and set up competitive companies/enterprises.

      Le Messager Newspaper gave details of “mining scandals” orchestrated by barons of the Cameroon regime, including those at the highest level of the state, in collusion with foreign interests in GeoCam/Geovic (that got a mineral exploitation permit without feasibility studies and expertise); C & K Mining Inc (which started mining operations before formal agreements were signed); Cam Iron (that lavished hundred of millions in kickbacks to barons of the regime); SNH (with its opaque petrol transactions); SONARA (with flagrant influence peddling); an many others!

     New African Magazine told the sorry stories of Yahya Jammeh (President of The Gambia), Charles Taylor (Liberia), Pascal Lissouba (Congo Brazaville), and others. Yahya Jammeh says that an American oil executive promised 5% royalty for Gambian oil, which would give Gambia some 400 million USD a year; the executive described it as “too much (money) for little Gambia.” Jammeh says the man thought he was doing Gambia “a favour” by keeping 95% of the proceeds of their oil and giving them only 5%, so he told him to “go to hell…he did not like it but I told him that if he ever sets foot on Gambian soil, he would regret it…”  To Jammeh, the solution for Africa is to be rough at the pre-exploitation negotiation, to get  what it rightly deserves or the oil and other mineral resources should remain untapped until such a time that the foreign companies give Africa its due, or the continent develops its own capital, machinery and knowhow to exploit the resources for itself. One can only wish that the regime barons in Cameroon who orchestrated the “mining scandals” had the same patriotic disposition!

      Charles Taylor told the audience during his trial in The Hague that an American oil company offered Liberia 5 cents for every dollar of their oil; he refused. Consequently, the company pushed and pushed behind the scenes until he was indicted. Then the company turned around and offered to cause the charges to be dropped if Taylor accepted the offer of 5 cents for each dollar; he still refused. And so he was tried and found guilty of “aiding and abetting rebels in Sierra Leone” and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

      As for Lissouba, he revealed that following his election to the Presidency of Congo, he caused the oil contracts with Western companies negotiated with a former military leader to be renegotiated. He wanted the 15% royalties the Congo was getting for its oil to be increased to 33%. All the companies were happy with 33% except a French company. The company used Chirac’s government to put pressure on Lissouba; Chirac called him and ordered him over the phone to appoint the ex-military leader, vice-president and minister of armed forces. When Lissouba told him that the constitution of Congo Brazzaville did not permit it, Chirac told him: “Chuck your bloody constitution in the dustbin.” Lissouba did not act, so a few weeks later, Lissouba’s government was overthrown in a “mini civil war” in which the former military leader used rebels supported by boats and logistics offered by the French Oil company to chase Lissouba out of power. The new “military” president asked the Oil Company to pay 20% instead of the 33% Lissouba was insisting on.

      The Magazine did not mention the slush funds Loik Le Floch-Prigent of the then French Oil Company ELF Aquitaine sprayed in oil-producing countries in Africa, to peddle French business and political influence. During his trial, Loik Le Floch-Prigent declared: “ELF engaged in bribing, personal favours and political influence-buying which were officially sanctioned by successive French governments…Clearly in most petrol-producing countries it is the head of state or king who is the real beneficiary...The president of the republic (Fran├žois Mitterand at the time) didn’t want anyone to say, “Elf is giving money to Cameroon’. So the money went to the names the heads of these countries designated....” And so the outcome of the 1992 presidential election in Cameroon was influenced by ELF using the slush funds. That is all history, but the history is still being played out in Cameroon if we consider the “mining scandals” that are still common currency in the country today.

    Expert African Jeweler Labi Akapo told New Africa Magazine of the importance of metalsmiths (smiths) – Jewelry manufacturers, goldsmiths, etc - in filling the spaces in the value chain of our natural resources; merely exporting raw materials will keep the continent poor. Indeed, it is possible that some Western expert or consultant usually “advise” our regime people that some procedures for adding value to our mineral resources are “a bit too advanced for black Africans” like a white colleague once told Labi Akapo. Further, it is revealed that when President Mahatma of Ghana came to power recently, more and more foreigners had become involved in illegal mining in the informal mining sector. So he ordered a review of the Mining Act which exclusively reserved small scale mining for Ghanaian citizens. The revised Act provided that foreigners caught mining illegally would be fined 100.000USD and the equipment used by the illegal mining operators confiscated. Such dissuasive measure would at least reduce the tons of gold Cameroon looses each year to illegal mining by foreigners.

     One may ask what role international transparency monitors like the extractive industries transparency initiative (EITI), Open Society, Oxfam and others can do to help. The report of Jeune Afrique Magazine (No. 2780 of 20 April 2014) on the helplessness of these organizations in the face of the manipulations of the French company Areva in the exploitation of the uranium of Niger, one of the poorest countries on earth, seems to comfort Yahya Jammeh’s advice that our mineral resources should remain untapped until such a time that the foreign companies give Africa its due.

     All this is to tell Rev. Massi Gams of CONAC that he may talk about ethics and corruption in multinational and local companies/enterprises in Cameroon, but there is little he can do about it because they involve very highly placed regime people, including those who appointed him and to whom he reports. In the global village that the world has become, natural resources and wealth creation are highly sought after; and they are the business of multinational and local enterprises. The relationship between Africa and Western business has always had ethics and morality low down on the scale of values because it is believed that Africans are supposed to be satisfied with little - they could do with no electricity, poor sanitation, poor housing, and an education that teaches them to get certificates to work for other people, not for themselves.

       Westerners still go around with the contempt and Western supremacist doctrine that certain technologies and processes are “a bit too advanced for black Africans.” They are comforted in this by the bizarre behavior of most Africans they interact with in business and politics, like the many Cameroon regime barons who easily give away our natural resources and development interests in exchange for pieces of silver.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

CAMEROON:THE TRUE NATURE OF THE FAKO (BAKWERI) LAND CRISIS AND A CALL FOR AN IMMEDIATE, LASTING SOLUTION

By  Ikomi Ngongi, Esq.
The Fako Land Crisis did not begin today. It began 130 years ago. It is not a one-aspect issue that only concerns the illegal dispossession of Fako citizens’ lands occupied by CDC since January 1947, and which are being grabbed, stolen, by so-called agents (e.g. Administrators such as SDO’s and DO’s and some others in privileged government and private positions) of the government in connivance with some sons and daughters of the soil. It is multi-faceted, simple and complex at the same time. 

 Many Cameroonians, including, sadly, indigenous Fako citizens, both young and old, do NOT understand or quite appreciate the depth and breadth of the problem.  This is because they do not know their own history-our history.  Unfortunately, this ignorance of our history, both in Fako and the rest of the country, is perpetrated by our country’s dysfunctional educational system, which emphasizes “doctrinal” history that favors the selective teaching of history and strives to obliterate a people’s past for one sole purpose – power and control - power and control that benefits a handful of corrupt elites and power traffickers.

The Fako land crisis as we know it today, reared its ugly head in 1884 when, in the town of Berlin in Germany, a few arrogant, greedy, power hungry, European leaders met and decided to arbitrarily “carve out and divide” Africa and allocate to themselves vast inhabited territories on the continent as their personal or state’s property. Probably the most egregious manifestation of this arrogance of power can still be seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo today, where the then King Leopold of the miniscule country called Belgium, ascribed to himself the “ownership” of a territory more than 100 times the size of his own country - a territory the size of a sub- continent, endowed with immeasurable natural wealth and resources.  

Cameroon is not as big geographically as the DRC but it has its own fair share of God’s generous endowment in mineral wealth and other natural resources.  Amongst the territories within Cameroon with the greatest quantity and quality of such natural endowment, Fako probably stands out as Number ONE.  The Germans, on arriving Africa and forcefully appropriating lands that were never and would never be theirs, were quick to identify the natural wealth of Fako. They decided to make it theirs – peacefully or by force. This is when the Fako land crisis began: 1884. 

In 1884, per force of the Berlin Treaty, Cameroon became a German Protectorate.  After scouting the different parts of the territory, the Germans discovered that the area around Mount Fako, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, home of the indigenous peoples of Fako, the Bakweris and all their related sub-groups like the Mungo, Bimbia, Balong and a few others, who settled in later, was an “agricultural paradise”. They quickly established a harsh, inhuman policy of indiscriminate, wholesale, confiscation, appropriation, seizure of indigenous native, ancestral lands for the establishment of large-scale agricultural plantations to feed their insatiable industrial growth at home.  They used brute force, coercion, and a long list of repressive “laws” to force the local indigenes, the Fako citizens, to give up their vast expanses of native, ancestral lands WITHOUT COMPENSATION.

To ensure that the Bakweris were thoroughly dispossessed of their lands, the German Colonial government established a notorious and barbaric policy of “packing and driving the Bakweris into inaccessible, disease infested and inhospitable “Native Reserves” similar to the kind that the white European settlers in the Americas and Australia put the natives, the indigenes of those territories, the American Indians and Australian Aborigines, into.  As a result of this policy, thousands and thousands of Bakweri people were forcefully and forcibly herded into strange, unfriendly patches of land that had no water, no streams; had dense, uninhabitable forests and very rocky and accidental terrain. Thousands died!  The result?  One writer of the British colonial Administration puts it this way:

In one swoop, the Bakweri, who, prior to the arrival of the Germans, were described as aggressive, independent and dynamic[i], were transformed into a dejected, despondent, lethargic, and dependent people. Ripped from familiar surroundings on which their entire traditional culture derived its strength, the Bakweri began an alarming downward spiral that would continue for over half a century - a fate no different from that of Native Americans [and the Aborigines of Australia].

My late Grandfather, the Right Honorable Venerated Reverend Daniel Ewung’a Mbua Efokoa Lyonga, one of the pioneers of the Basel, now Presbyterian, Mission in Cameroon, in one of the many history lessons he gave me when I was much younger, recounted his eye- witness experiences of German atrocities committed during their presence in our territory. He told me of how the Germans carried out genocidal, or near genocidal, acts in Fako after they had been valiantly resisted and thoroughly beaten in several battles by the proud, independent, assertive, aggressive, noble Bakweri people. He told me how, in their determination to break the Bakweri people’s collective spirit, they subjected them to untold inhuman and degrading treatment. One of such series of acts he described thus:
The Germans would round up all the men of the tribe within site, line them up from the Government Station (that is where we now have many of the government office buildings and structures) to the newly created reserves fences (the Kott’a Mboa- the artificially fenced off village areas}, make them take off their clothes and lie down on the dirt, face down, but, sometimes, face up. Then they would WALK ON THEM, with their hard German military boots on, using them like human carpets.
Another one of such recurrent inhumane acts was the merciless, hateful, thrashings they gave the Bakweri men-the njum’a phonji:
They would have a Bakweri man manhandled by several men, mostly German soldiers.  They would tie him down and place his body between two empty and hollow wine barrels whose top and bottom had been removed for that purpose.  In one barrel they would place over his upper torso, lying face down.  In the second barrel they would place his lower extremities, leaving just a little opening that exposed his uncovered buttocks. In that little space that exposed his unprotected buttocks, they would flog him mercilessly, over and over until he bled, sore and wounded - his skin peeling and sticking on the whip, most often a leather belt with buckles on it.  What made this punishment so particularly cruel is that, enclosed in these hollow barrels, the victim of this abuse was stuck inside, immobile and totally incapable of any movement whatsoever.  His arms, body were bound and all he could do was screaming in pain until he passed out, fainted, or died.

The women were spared this hateful physical abuse but they were treated no less worse.  They were raped and abused; allegedly infected with what was then known as the “white man’s disease” - syphilis.  

The Germans achieved their objective.  They succeeded in breaking the spirits and moral of our people – the Mokpe’s. It is even claimed, and this is still subject to verification and validation, that the Germans, when they saw that they could not get the Bakweri to do their will, embarked on a mission to exterminate them by introducing syphilis in their population.  This, it is alleged, resulted in very low birth rates amongst the Bakweris, as we can witness today.  I am shocked to note that, to this day, these Germans have NOT yet been indicted for crimes against humanity and held to make heavy reparations to the people of Fako for all these abuses they poured on our ancestors and from which we still suffer till this day, with scars so fresh and raw!
In the 1922 Annual Report by the British Government to the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations, this is what is said of the Bakweri people:
Uprooted from the homes of their forebears, settled willy nilly on strange soil, deprived of their old hunting grounds and fishing rights, the Bakweri-[Fako People]-have retained but a small sense of tribal unity and cohesion.

This is the measure of the collective psychological, cultural, social, economic and political damage the Germans wrought on my people – The People of Fako- a people who, before the fateful arrival of the Germans, had been known for their cohesion, nobility, aggressiveness, pride, assertiveness, independence and self-sufficiency, a people who jealously and courageously defended this same territory we are writing about and are now fighting for; a people who readily, unhesitantly, spilled and sacrificed their own blood to protect this land from the German invaders and intruders.  Sadly and ironically, here we are today, a hundred and more years later, facing similar mistreatment from our own so-called “brothers” and “sisters” in privileged administrative and other positions in Fako.  They treat us as if they have conquered our territory like the Germans did.  They bully us and steal our lands from us.  They are in such a hurry to take as much of our lands as can, one would easily believe the devil was, literally, chasing them. 
And so, here we are, again, 100 years later, fighting to hold on to the same land our ancestors spilled their blood for and for which they suffered all kinds of degrading, horrible humiliation.  We are simply witnessing the substitution of one colonial master from Europe with another, this time, from Africa, of Cameroonian descent, called SDO’s and DO’s (Prefets and sous prefets) working with some civil servants in privileged positions, who make claims, spurious, bogus, claims, of being our  brothers and sisters because Cameroon has now “become” “one and indivisible”.

The Beginning – The First Facet of the Fako Land Crisis - the “Stranger Problem”:
Now, after having seized our lands, the Germans set out to make vast plantations on them.  They then tried to force the Bakweris to work on these plantations as slaves, or laborers - terms which cannot be differentiated because the salaries offered to laborers in those plantations to this day are only meant for slaves in the true sense of the word.  Of course, the proud, noble Bakweri people would not be subjected to such further humiliation. Many of them preferred to commit suicide, die, rather than be enslaved as laborers on their own ancestral land by their wicked conquerors. And so began the importation of labor, slave labor, from other parts of the vast expanse of this African territory now called Cameroon.  The Germans went up north, now, north-west to be precise. They found and brought in abundant, cheap, willing labor for their ill-gotten plantations.  And this is where another facet of the Bakweri – Fako - Land Crisis emerged: “The Stranger Problem” as it was identified and called by Messrs W.M. Bridges, Victoria District Officer in 1935 and D.A.F. Shute, Victoria District officer in 1938, both working under the British Colonial Government in Southern Cameroons, in their “Intelligence Report on the Bakweri[ii], prepared for the British Colonial Authority in London.
In that Report, and long before the Cameroon Development Corporation was established in January, 1947 by the same British Government to address the Bakweri Land crisis, this is what they wrote of the Bakweri, or Fako, land problem, in paragraph 41, on pages 11 to 12:
The stranger problem now requires attention[iii]. Since the inception of plantation work, an increasing number of native strangers have found their way to this country [Fako].  Some remain continually at work on the plantations and do not affect the local native organization at all. Many others, however, give up their plantation work and settle down in the various villages. The local natives are indolent to inform them of their customs and the strangers do not bother to enquire about them.  Friction thereby ensues and the locals term the strangers “strong-headed” while the strangers consider that the Bakweris are trying to take advantage of their being foreigners. LAND AND WOMEN CONSTITUTE THE MOST CONSTANT SOURCE OF TROUBLE[iv]. For example, a stranger is allowed by a Sango Mbua[v] to farm on some land. He does so and then later decides to return to his country, but before leaving, he sells[vi] the farmland, which he has used to another stranger, generally one unknown to the local villagers. The second stranger is indignant when THE VILLAGERS CLAIM THEIR RIGHTS ACCORDING TO THE LOCAL NATIVE CUSTOM, BY WHICH THEIR LAND  CANNOT BE PARTED OR SOLD; while THE VILLAGERS ARE ANNOYED BECAUSE A STRANGER HAS PRESUMED TO THINK THAT HE CAN OWN A PORTION OF THEIR LAND[vii].
These problems described above, and the practice of illegally selling off land that does not belong to them, by these “strangers” continues to this day here in Fako.  Now it is done not only by private settlers or strangers but by government officials, agents of our Government, misusing and abusing their privileged positions as administrators, civil servants, lands surveyors, ministers, etc., to GRAB, steal, Fako native, ancestral lands.
After the primary, major land crisis created by the Germans, three sub-sets of crises have since emerged in Fako.  The first facet was “the Stranger Problem”, which I have just been described in the 1935 British Government Intelligence Report on the Bakweri quoted above.

The Second Facet: The “New Layout” Problem:
The Second facet of the crisis emerged after the political “independence” of the then West Cameroon or Southern Cameroons.  Successive directors of the Lands and Survey Department, in an effort to obfuscate, disguise or cover up “the Stranger Problem” described above, started an illegal program of creating so-called “New Layouts”.  I do not yet have records or evidence of the actions of the first Director of Lands and Surveys of West Cameroon, the late Mr. Njikam, of blessed memory.  But we know what his successor, Mr.Anyangwe, a.k.a. the Duke, also of blessed memory, did.  He created a New Layout in Great Soppo, Buea, right under our eyes and noses, and proceeded to populate it, almost exclusively, with his tribe’s people from Ngie Ngwo or Oshie.  The evidence is here to see today.  Most of the land in Great Soppo is “owned” or, rather, occupied by families such as the Ozimba’s and others.    
Overtly, “New Layouts” were claimed to be created for public purposes, to provide land needed to carry out government, or other public purpose developments for the benefit of the local community.  But this was not, and has never been, the case in Fako.  Since then the “new culture” of fabricating “New Layouts” has become a popular practice of subsequent administrators to enable them to illegally GRAB land in Fako.  This practice, in its many ramifications, continues to this day with impunity!

The Third Facet: Destruction and “Privatization” of Government Residential Areas (GRA’s’), Federal Quarters and Clerk’s Quarters:
The third facet of the Fako Land Crisis constitutes the illegal carving out of PRIVATE property from Government Residential Areas (GRA’s). Again, this practice is rife only in Fako. In Victoria, now Limbe, The GRA we knew when growing up as children, has been decimated, totally destroyed.  It is no longer the low density residential area designated for Government workers by the previous colonial administration.  Through the instrumentation of creative, crooked officers of the Lands and Surveys Department, with the connivance and support and/or encouragement of successive administrators (SDO’s and DO’s, amongst others) working in cahoots with some government ministers, directors and other officers in Yaounde, parcels of land are carved out from otherwise beautifully manicured government residential compounds and made into private property for which land certificates are illegally and hastily awarded overnight.  The same is true of Buea, where the Federal Quarters, Clerks’ Quarters and GRA have become the property of private individuals.  In Buea, we see buildings going up every day next to the “boys’ quarters” of GRA houses in Buea. Some of the most conspicuous of such buildings – incomplete and complete - can be seen today opposite the Buea Mountain Hotel and next to the Military Station opposite the Nigerian Consulate in GRA.  More new ones are emerging opposite the Mountain Village Guest House next to the residence of the Director of the Buea Regional (General) Hospital.  Some more new, private, buildings are seen interspersed between several such government residences all around GRA and Federal Quarters and Clerk’s Quarters in Buea.  

Again, this phenomenon seems to flourish ONLY in Fako. Not in the Center Province or Mefou Division; not in the Littoral Province or Duala; not in the North-West Province or in Bamenda; not in the Northern Provinces or in Garoua, Ngaoundere  or Maroua; not in the Eastern Province or in Bertoua; not anywhere else – ONLY IN FAKO!  What do these people take us for?  Fools or idiots? These we certainly are NOT!  We have just been quiet for far too long, hoping that justice will one day prevail and these wrongs and abuses will be righted.  Alas! It has all been but a matter of wishful thinking and illusory expectations on the part of the peace loving, accommodating, friendly but traumatized and indecently abused and insulted citizens of Fako.

The Fourth Facet of the Fako Land Crisis: CDC Land Surrender.
While the previous instances of land abuse in Fako seem sufficiently egregious and blatant, here comes the real bombshell:  The CDC Land Surrender.  The previously discussed abuses can be traced to corrupt individuals both in and out of government but the CDC Land Surrender, one of the largest and most shameful and disgusting abuses of a peoples ancestral land rights, emanates, or seems to emanate, directly, apparently, officially, from our own Government’s appointed agents – Divisional and Regional Administrators.
Following the defeat of the Germans by the Allies in the two World Wars, the land they had illegally and forcibly seized from the people of Fako was re-purchased from the Custodian of Enemy Property by the Colonial British Administration, then under the Governor of Nigeria.  The sum of 850,000 (eight hundred and fifty thousand) pounds sterling was paid for this restoration.  

In the meantime, a movement of young, brave Fako nationalists was set up in 1943 to advocate for the recovery the lands stolen from the Fako indigenes by the Germans. This resulted in the creation of the Bakweri Lands Committee (BLC) (later known as the Bakweri Lands Claims Committee).  This Committee comprised many enlightened sons and daughters, elites of Fako.  members, personally known to the author and with whom I was privileged to hold long, educative discussions about this problem, this crisis, included such notables as the late Pa Effange of Small Soppo village, the late Chief Ewusi, of Mokunda village, to name a few. 
In 1946, David Mafany Endeley, the Secretary General of BLC, addressed a written complaint to the newly created United Nations Organization, in which, on behalf of the Bakweri Lands Committee (BLC) and the Fako (Bakweri) people, he demanded the restoration of Fako lands that were illegally seized, occupied, used and transformed into more than 23 (twenty-three) plantations by the Germans for over 50 years.  This land constitutes the most fertile and strategically-positioned, resource-endowed, ancestral lands that belong to the people of Fako.
In response to this justified demand, the United Nations ordered the British Government, under which the then Southern Cameroons (in which Victoria Division, now Fako Division, is found) was being administered together with Nigeria as a Trust Territory, to perform the following acts in law: 

1.      This land, this “ex-enemy property” that was illegally occupied by the Germans for over half a century, covering an area of approximately between 400 and 600 square miles of prime Fako land that comprised about 23 vast German plantations and some, was mapped out and declared Bakweri Private Native Lands by Ordinance (Law). (See Lands and Native Rights Ordinance (1958) Cap 96 # 3, Nigeria).
2.      The Governor then borrowed money from the Government and paid the sum of 850,000 Pounds Sterling to the Custodian of Enemy Property as compensation for the plantations that existed on this land. He promised to have this money repaid by a new Statutory Corporation to be created for the benefit of the Bakweri people whose lands these plantations occupied.
3.      This land was then placed under the custody of the then Governor of Nigeria to HOLD IN TRUST for the Bakweri people, who were deemed, at that time, not to have enough trained and qualified manpower to manage these vast estates without outside technical and managerial assistance.
4.      In January 1947, after ensuring that the legal ownership of these lands had been transferred to their rightful owners, the Bakweri people, by an Ordinance, the CDC Ordinance No. 39 (1946), the Cameroon Development Corporation was created as a Statutory Corporation.  Under this Statute, a sixty (60) year lease was granted to CDC by the trustee (The Governor of Nigeria) of Bakweri lands, on behalf of and for the benefit of the Bakweri people.  CDC was then to be managed by an expatriate staff from the Commonwealth Development Corporation (also CDC) with HQ at Hill Street, London, U.K.
5.      Cameroon Development Corporation would be managed for the Bakweri people for a sixty year period, during which it was expected that the Bakweris themselves would have developed enough manpower – managerial and technical- capacity to manage their own corporation, the CDC, without outside help.
6.      Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, would pay the Bakweri People land rents for ALL the lands occupied and being used as plantations for the duration of the 60 year lease.  These rents would be paid to the Central Bakweri Local Council.
7.      CDC, responsible for repaying the 850,000 pounds loan taken out by the Governor of Nigeria to repay the Custodian of Enemy Property, was able to effect such repayment within three years of its operation.  The plantations, and CDC, now debt free, remained the unencumbered property of the Bakweris-the indigenes of FAKO.
The management of CDC continued under the “assistance” of the British Commonwealth Development Corporation until 1973, when, after the alleged 1972 “referendum” which “resulted in the creation of a “unitary state”, CDC was arbitrarily and illegally appropriated by the Government of Cameroon and made into a State Corporation, WITHOUT COMPENSATION TO THE BAKWERI PEOPLE.  It is worthy of note that CDC has never paid any rents or royalties to the Bakweri people during the life of the 60 year lease and since the expiration of the same lease in 2007.
This state of affairs persisted until 1994 when the people of Fako, led by the Bakweri Lands Claim Committee, strongly supported by Fako Chiefs (as they then were), elites and other indigenous citizens of Fako, challenged the Government of Cameroon for trying to sell off parts of CDC – the Tole Tea Estates- without the permission and/or authority of its rightful owners - the people of Fako.

After a long spell of Government reticence and/or refusal to address the legitimate concerns of the people of Fako over this issue, in an unprecedented, bold and commendable move, the BLCC, led by its Secretary-General, the avuncular, venerable, no-nonsense Mola Njoh Litumbe, hitherto subjected to various forms of Government agents’ intimidation and harassment, sued the Government of Cameroon at the African Human Rights Commission Court in Banjul - The Banjul Court.  The matter is still pending before that tribunal, which has now recognized the legitimacy of the Bakweri people’s claim against the Government of Cameroon and has re-instated the matter, which under the Commission’s Communication No 260/2002 had been put on hold awaiting attempts at an amicable resolution of the matter between the parties – the BLCC, the People of Fako and the Government of Cameroon. 

In the meantime, while this matter is still pending before the African Commission of Human Rights, the Government, by the mechanism of some of its crooked, corrupt agents, began a process, a surreptitious, obscure and most questionable system, of “handing back” Bakweri People’s land occupied by the CDC to some Fako Chiefs and some Fako indigenes of very questionable origins and/or character.  This is what is now called the “CDC Land Surrender” Problem. 
In a Memorandum dated Thursday, June 06th, 2013, addressed to the Senior Divisional Officer for Fako, Mr. Zang III, the President’s administrative representative, his AGENT, in the Fako Division, who has arrogated upon himself the ecstatic duty of dispossessing the Fako people of their ancestral lands through this “CDC Land Surrender”, I raised my concerns about the questionable nature of this surrender that results in alienating the lands in questions from their rightful owners.  I demanded that a freeze, a stop, be put on this “surrender” until the Fako people themselves were properly constituted to strategically manage their own property, their own lands.  For more than nine (9) months, I waited futilely for the SDO’s response.  Nothing.  Rather, we all have witnessed, and continue to witness, a frenetic acceleration of the “surrender” of Fako lands, which we now all know as a fact end up in the hands of the same SDO and his cronies.  As of December 2012, I am reliably informed, about 2,800 hectares of prime Fako lands have been “surrendered” through the instrumentality of successive SDO’s and DO’s in Fako, who, ironically, are NOT Fako indigenes. 

 Much of these “surrendered” lands have been and are still being converted, as we write, into the private property of these SDO’s and DO’s and many of their cronies, including, unfortunately, some Fako Chiefs, so-called elites and other similar land traffickers, of Fako and non-Fako origin, who are registering these lands and obtaining land certificates for them as private personal landed property.  In an interview on CRTV Buea Press Club Program a couple of weeks ago, (Saturday, April, 06, 2014) an alleged spokesman of the Fako Chiefs Conference told us, members of the panel of discussants: “We the chiefs sell land so that we can live a good life.  We can buy luxurious, beautiful cars; build big houses so that we can BE RESPECTED”. 
 There was no regret in the tone and attitude of this young (about thirty years or so), arrogant, naive, covetous, self-centered, uncouth, uncaring person who passes, or wishes to pass, for a chief of our beleaguered Fako people!  Little wonder that their other colleagues from other Divisions and Regions in Cameroon treated some of them (the likes of the alleged spokesman) with such disdain and disrespect during the 50th Anniversary occasion, right in front of President Paul Biya, right here in Fako on “their own former territory”, “their own former land”, which now “belongs” to and is “controlled” by, “strangers” (thanks to the reckless and illegal land-selling extravaganza of some).
This, my dear and honored Ancestors of Fakoland, my Mothers and Fathers of Fako, the True Chiefs and Custodians of Fako land, elites and citizens of Fako, opinion leaders, politicians, lawyers, historians, students, Youths of Fako, our President of Cameroon, our Prime Minister of Cameroon, Presidents of the National Assembly and Senate of Cameroon, Parliamentarians, Senators, Civil Society leaders, readers, fellow Cameroonians, is the nature, the makeup, the true and unadulterated picture of the FAKO LAND CRISIS.
I have seen my own share of conflict, truly bloody conflict, in this world.  Having participated, in various professional and leadership capacities in several conflict-ridden countries and regions of this world, I know, and I have the honest conviction, that Prevention of Conflict, timely prevention of conflict, is more useful and welcome that futile attempts at restoring peace in already damaged, wounded, traumatized and fragmented communities and countries.  In my experience and knowledge, most of the conflicts in this world are provoked by injustices, especially injustices deriving from the dispossession of a people’s ancestral land rights.  I witnessed the conflict in Burundi, in Rwanda, in Cambodia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to name a few. 
  They all have one common denominator:  LAND.  The Fako land crisis has the making of a time bomb, waiting, seething, silent, but deadly.  It is a symptom of a larger problem in our country:  The arrogance of power and the abuse and misuse of the privileges of the dominant ruling section of the population in this country.  It is also a symptom of the “The Stranger Problem” that the British so succinctly analyzed in their Intelligence Report of 1935-1938, which I quoted above. These problems must be addressed and resolved quickly.  The status quo ante must be restored and the lost harmony and justice of our society regained.  

It is now long overdue for us to have a truly INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT COMMISSION OF IQUIRY comprising members from the African Commission, the United Nations, The Commonwealth, Experts and Elites of Fako origin, duly constituted to carry out an in-depth and exhaustive investigation of this Fako Land Crisis dating back from 1946 when the Bakweri Native Lands Ordinance was promulgated in recognition of the ancestral land rights of the Fako people, by the Trustee Administration of the British Government. Our Cameroon Government has the obligation, the duty, under International law and under our Constitution, to honor, defend, protect, project, enforce and respect these ancestral land rights and to protect the people of Fako from some of its corrupt agents in Fako, who are acting, with impunity, outside of their authority, outside of mandate and outside of the law.
If this is not done, and done quickly, this Government of Cameroon in its present administration will be held responsible for the INEVITABLE EXPLOSION of CONFLICT that will result, in due course, in Fako and in all other Regions and/or Divisions or Communities in this country where similar injustices are being perpetrated by Government Administrators, SDO’s. DO’s, Agents and other dominant individuals or groups, against other minority peoples like the peoples of Fako. 
I Rest!!!




[i] My emphasis

[ii] See File No. EP.113372 A, registered on 12-6-1935, South West Provincial Archives, Buea.

[iii] My emphasis in bold.

[iv] My emphasis

[v] This should actually read “Mboa” not Mbua. Sango Mboa means Village or Family Head.

[vi] My emphasis.


[vii] My emphasis.

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