By Christopher Ambe
Cameroon , with a population of about 20 million ,has only about 2500 lawyers when it needs at least ten thousand , and has no law school .The demand for a law school in Cameroon now appears to be higher than ever before and the Cameroon Bar Association has vowed to fight to the end to have such an important institution created.
“Upon my election as President of the Bar Council I said one of my goals was the creation of a law school, attached to the University of Buea”,Barrister Sama Francis Asanga,President of Cameroon Bar Council, told journalists last June 29 in Buea , a day after the country’s lawyers held their general assembly in the town of Legendary Hospitality .
“I have repeatedly said everything is being put in place for the creation of a law school, because the university authorities gave us their accord, gave the necessary logistics-land. We just need to get over with some administrative hurdles. We have had all the relevant collaboration and understanding with the stakeholders”
The Batonnier paid tribute to late Barrister Innocent Bonu, said to be the imitator of the law school project. “For his legacy, we shall fight to the end to have the law school created”, Sama Asanga said.
Due to the absence of a law school in Cameroon, the country adopted the system of apprenticeship or pupilage as training for its lawyers.
However, law graduates who leave Cameroon and go to Inns of Court, law schools for example in Nigeria or Sierra Leone and return, get admitted in to the Cameroon Bar Association(CBA)
The creation of a law school in Cameroon, many hold, will certainly reduce the number of Cameroonians who spend huge sums of money to be trained as lawyers abroad.
The lawyers’ general assembly which held in Buea for the first time-was chaired by Lawyer Tang Emmanuel, who is President of the General Assembly of the Cameroon Bar Association. The assembly deliberated on issues affecting the legal profession such as insurance for lawyers, refresher courses and the need for total monopoly over their profession and the controversy about the appointment of notaries public in Anglophone Cameroon.
They, among other resolutions, said NO TO THE APPOINTMENT OF NOTARIES in the Northwest and Southwest regions, where Common Law Practice is observed. The lawyers then enjoined both the presidents of the Bar Council and the General Assembly to “to take up the issue to the Government of Cameroon and make sure it is resolved once and for all’, according to Barrister Ajong Stanislaus, president of Fako Lawyers
Both Bâtonnier Sama and Lawyer Tang described the Buea general assembly as very successful and gave credit to Lawyer John Kamani, who was President of the Organizing Committee .The Bar President admitted it was the first time that the Executive Arm of Government attended the meeting, represented by the Governor of the Southwest Region.
“The CBA is being felt everywhere; honour and dignity is being restored to a higher level,” remarked Bâtonnier Sama,who congratulated the legal practitioners for heeding his call for discipline and respect for professional ethics.
The Bar President declared, “CBA stands resolutely behind all state institutions in the current struggle to preserve and secure peace and the livelihood of the Cameroon people.
“We stand resolutely to defend the people of Cameroon; to defend the rule of law, peace and order for the successful development of Cameroon”
(First Published In The RECORDER newspaper,Cameroon ,of July 9,2014)