|WANTS INDEPENDENT COMMITTEE TO RE-EXAMINE LAND CERTIFICATES ISSUED IN FAKO|
Following is the statement :
14 July 2014
The Fako Elite Development Organization (FEDO) is a forty-six (46) year old, non-partisan, apolitical, indigenous development organization of, and for, Fako indigenes. Our focus is on issues that harbour on the developmental aspirations of the sons and daughters of Fako origin. In this regard, we address issues that are fundamental to our people's development.
Nothing is more fundamental to any people's existence, development, survival and prosperity than the ownership and control of their own territory, their own ancestral lands. Today, the people of Fako are faced with the enormous challenge for their survival - the control and ownership of their own ancestral lands - a challenge that has lasted 130 years since the inopportune arrival of the colonialist Germans (and later the British) on their territory. This Press Release, is issued to address the current Fako land crisis related to the now notorious dispossession of Fako people's land, (occupied for the past 67 years by the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), under the guise of a "land surrender" by successive Government administrators, land surveyors, land registrars, etc. in Fako, in utter disregard of our indigenous land rights.
The dispossession of Fako ancestral lands is not limited only to the lands occupied by CDC. This nefarious practice also manifests itself in the Land Grabbing practices of churches, the illegal creation of "New Layouts", the carving out of private plots for private use in Government Residential Areas (GRA's) and the continuing abuse of some government officials' privileges and powers through which fraudulent land certificates are issued without the knowledge of, consultation with, and in total exclusion of the land owners themselves - Fako Indigenes.
In April 2014, a Ministerial Commission of Inquiry into the Fako Land Crisis was created, to, amongst other things, look into the fraudulent nature of CDC land surrender. Although scepticism has been expressed about the "independent" nature of this Commission, FEDO is ready to give it the benefit of doubt. FEDO entertains serious concerns about the composition of this Commission. Some of its members are suspected publicly, as being involved in many malpractices relating to the dispossession of Fako ancestral lands. Their continuing membership in this Commission, despite the revelation of their questionable association with the abusive transactions relating to Fako lands, as former Delegates of Lands in the South West Region, current Delegate of Lands in the South West Region and current Registrar of Lands in Fako Division, respectively entertains serious concerns. FEDO will closely follow the work of the Commission and will be looking into the impartiality of its findings and report. FEDO expects the Commission to engage many more independent members of the Fako community in dialogue and direct their inquiry into the fundamental issue of the legal ownership of CDC and CDC occupied lands in Fako Division. FEDO shall also expect to see the total annulment and revocation of all fraudulently and illegally obtained land certificates and the eventual prosecution of all those involved, directly or indirectly, in the ongoing land certificate scam in Fako.
As we all know, under African Customary Law and Practices, all community lands are held in trust for its members by their Chiefs, Kings or Natural Leaders. The current development in the Fako Land Crisis has revealed a deep and disturbing departure from this law and practice. SOME of our chiefs, either through pressure, manipulation, connivance or intentionally have played a major part in the illegal sales and dispossession of Fako ancestral lands to non-indigenes. FEDO loudly and strongly condemns this unsavoury practice. FEDO calls upon ALL the Chiefs of Fako to take their responsibilities to protect Fako ancestral lands seriously and calls on the Conference of Fako Chiefs to bring all those chiefs who violate their own ancestral laws and shamelessly flaunt ill gotten wealth from illegal sale of Fako ancestral lands, to desist from this practice hence forth. FEDO expects Fako chiefs to be the real CUSTODIANS of our ancestral lands and leaders of our community. FEDO also calls on the Conference of Fako Chiefs to re-examine the ongoing fraudulent processes of the creation and "fabrication" of chiefs and chiefdoms in Fako for the apparent purpose of giving them illegal access and opportunity to sell Fako ancestral lands. FEDO sincerely hopes that Fako chiefs will work together with Fako elites to combat the continuing illegal alienation of Fako ancestral lands.
FEDO is critically aware of the role local administrative authorities, especially the Senior Division Officer, Divisional Officers, Lands and Surveys Officers, Land Registrars, the Governor and others, play in the process of land surrender and alienations in Fako. In this regard, FEDO respectfully but firmly and openly calls upon these Administrative authorities to desist or ensure that their collaborators desist, from the illegal practices of fraudulent alienation of Fako ancestral lands, including lands currently occupied by CDC and all other lands in the GRA's, Clerk's Quarters, Federal Quarters and other village communities in Fako FEDO is aware of the ongoing collusion amongst administrative departments concerned in the creation of New Layouts, partitioning and sales of land in existing GRAs and the delivering of fraudulently obtained land certificates and expresses its strong desire to see these practices stop from now henceforth. FEDO expects Administrative authorities to work with Fako elites and chiefs to stop this ongoing rape of our ancestral heritage.
All land registration and management in the country are done under the control and authority of the Ministry of State Property, Land Tenure and Surveys. In this regard FEDO expects and hopes that the said ministry shall from now henceforth, pay more critical attention at the issuing of land certificates in Fako and that it will establish an independent committee to re-examine ALL land certificates issued in Fako over the past 50 years and more and take immediate corrective and punitive measures, where fraud is detected and ascertained, to restore the status quo ante of the dispossessed indigenes.
FEDO takes this opportunity to acknowledge the important role played by the National Commission of Human Rights, through its Secretariat in the South West Region, in raising the awareness of local communities regarding their inalienable rights to hold, control and protect their ancestral lands from illegal and abusive sales by some chiefs and administrative authorities. Despite the denunciation, by some chiefs and members of the community, of the expected and welcome role of the Human Rights Secretariat in protecting communities from their being dispossessed of their ancestral lands, FEDO strongly stands by the Secretariat and wishes to reassure the Human Rights Commission of its support and collaboration in fighting against the continuing illegality surrounding transactions over Fako lands.
In conclusion, FEDO wishes to state categorically that it abhors the current and ongoing situation whereby the current beneficiaries of the CDC land surrender are not Fako indigenes. FEDO also abhors the practices in other land apportionments such as the carving up of Government Residential Areas and Clerks Quarters in Buea and Limbe and other places in the Division. This practice does NOT happen anywhere else in this country. It must now stop. FEDO will, in collaboration with all other Fako organizations and other vital sons and daughters of the Division, from now henceforth, do everything necessary to stop this abuse in our community. CDC occupied lands are the ancestral private property of Fako Indigenes. The lands occupied by Government Residential Areas were ceded to Government only for that purpose - not for conversion to private ownership. The continuing interference of Government authorities in the management and control of Fako Private Ancestral Lands must now stop!!! Fako citizens are poised to take over the control and management of their ancestral lands. FEDO shall pursue this objective till it is achieved.
OFFICE OF THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT
P.O BOX 127 TIKO
FAKO DIVISION, SOUTH WEST REGION
TEL: +237 56395208