Heaps of garbage, stench of decay

In 2014, President Paul Biya on a visit to the town referred to Buea as a clean, beautiful town. He was even more charitable when he endorsed the “Legendary Hospitality” pet name with which the town had come to be identified. But in the ebbing days of 2018, the Buea mayoral authorities abruptly changed the Legendary Hospitality sobriquet to “City of Excellence.” Unfortunately however, the town didn’t have a facelift commensurate with the status of the city it had been bestowed with.

Workers of the waste disposal company, HYSACAM had downed tools, following the destruction of their garbage trucks by the so-called Amba boys and the fact that it was increasingly dangerous for them to perform their duties freely, without being hurt by the rag tag army. But a newspaper report had it that the Buea mayor had, by his magnanimity, personally funded HYSACAM and gotten the disposal company back to work.

However, despite the claims of magnanimity and all that, heaps of garbage and other waste material still litter the town, constituting a health hazard. Desperate denizens have resorted to burning their refuse, further compounding the risk of respiratory related diseases. Otherwise, refuse is now dumped at every other street corner. Certain people The Rambler approached thought that municipal authorities ought to have reverted to the pre-HYSACAM era, during which refuse disposal in the town was handled directly by council workers. At that time they claimed, the town wasn’t suffocating from the stench of decay surrounding residential houses as is presently the case.

On a similar note, residents of the town have intensified their criticism of the so called monthly ‘Keep Buea Clean’ campaigns which entails devoting one or two Wednesdays per month for everyone else to come out and clean the town. It should be recalled that on such days, civil servants keep off their offices for at least four hours, ostensibly to participate in keeping the town clean. All business places stay shut while taxis are forbidden from plying the streets.

However, it is an open secret that these special Wednesdays have more or less been converted to public holidays. Offices stay closed throughout; hardly any one engages in the cleanup campaign and the only beneficiaries are local administrators who are known to provide special dispensations for certain cabs to ply the streets against prescribed amounts of money paid, but which is widely believed to be unaccounted for.

It was expected that with HYSACAM’s job of clearing garbage having been compromised by marauding gangsters in the name of an army of liberation, the ‘Keep Buea Clean’ campaigns should have been upgraded and closely supervised to make up for the shortfall. But that is not quite the case. And the situation is gradually but surely getting out of hand. Instead, the only visible form of development in the municipality is the mushrooming of boutiques, courtesy of the local council. Someone recently joked that one out of every three residents of Buea can now be said to be a trader, selling one commodity or the other, going by the uncountable number of boutiques with which the council is littering the town.

Elsewhere, running water is a luxury. Long lines of children and other denizens are often seen trekking long distances to fetch water from brooks and streams. Access roads are practically nonexistent. Respective neighbourhoods are known to contribute money with which they grade their own roads or open up new ones. The banning of commercial biking in the town has made transportation, especially in the peripheries a big social headache. The town council has been conspiratorially silent in the midst of all of these social constraints. But it has been sporadic in ensuring that cars and other automobiles are not carelessly parked in the public space or along the roads as to block free circulation. Those in charge are known to clamp poorly parked automobiles, only having them released against a fee of FCFA 25,000.

That said, if the Buea municipal authorities are really serious about lifting the town to the status of a city and ensuring that it is one of excellence, then they face the urgent challenge of taking crucial lessons in waste management. In which case, the collection, transportation, disposal and recycling of waste ought to take precedence over the proliferation of boutiques.

Kumba still cut off from Buea

Routing the Ambazonia militia from their stronghold near Ekona in Fako Division must have been pretty good news for the regime. Freeing certain important abductees, including a Police Superintendent would have been equally relieving to the regular forces and their paymasters. But somehow this seeming edge over the separatist fighters may turn out to be but a pyrrhic victory for the Government or at the very best, a good joke in bad taste.
Vehicular traffic from Kumba, Meme Divisional chief town, to the Southwest Regional capital, Buea has, for almost a week, been completely disrupted. The dislodged militia is said to have blocked the highway with heaps of sand and other obstacles, totally disrupting movement to Kumba and vice versa.
It is also alleged that the Amba boys went haywire, and have since been physically stopping every single automobile from getting into or leaving Kumba. Consequently, thousands of visitors who entered Kumba from Fako Division are all stranded here. Others who came in from Mamfe, hoping to proceed to Muyuka, Buea or Victoria are reportedly still stuck in this Meme chief town. The same goes for those that were trying to reach the popular K-town from Yaounde, Douala or even from abroad.
A source informed The Rambler that the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, PCC, Moderator Emeritus, the Most Rt Rev, Nyansako ni Nku is one of those stuck in the small village of Bombe. He was said to be on his way to preside at a memorial service for a prominent PCC Christian in Victoria when he was caught up in the melee. We were told that the army opted to improvise some means of getting him out of the seeming captivity and enable him carry out to his Pastoral duties but that the former Moderator would rather be holed up with the rest of the stranded crowd in the tiny village.
By midday on Tuesday, June 19, bulldozers, escorted by heavy military tanks left Kumba, ostensibly to clear the road and make for traffic to start flowing. But by nightfall, on the same day, not even a single automobile had arrived Fako from Meme or vice versa. Hundreds of anxious passengers were still eagerly waiting on both sides of the divide.
Elsewhere on the streets trucks carrying foodstuff destined for other parts of the country from the agriculturally rich Meme Division were stranded, packed in long lines on the highway. Some of the foodstuff was, of course, rotting away.

Cameroonian entrepreneur uses digital archiving to boost local economy

Philippe Nkouaya returned from France a few months ago after studying and established a digital service company in Douala, Cameroon’s capital.
His company, Philjohntech specializes in electronic archiving and has created an application that allows digital archiving of documents. His digital services make it possible to safely store documents using software.
Nkouaya tells Africanews correspondent Lambert Ngouanfo that it is high time Africans joined the digital revolution.
“Today in Cameroon and Central Africa as a whole, there are many companies that have archiving problems… For instance, it takes one to two weeks to find documents. Now with this application, you can directly locate archives and files and in just one click and within three minutes you can directly find the document…It saves time and satisfies all customers’‘, Nkouaya said.
The advent of digital technology has had a significant impact on the way documents are handled within companies. Nkouaya says beyond physical archiving, companies must now consider electronic archiving.
Many Cameroonian companies are opting for digital archiving. Only a few years ago, banks and insurance companies started digitization projects. Today, SME’s, town halls and even individuals are opting to archive electronically.
Line Lobé is Director of Maya Marketing
“We now use digital archiving because in time past, it was very difficult for us to find documents. It took us days, sometimes even weeks to find a document. So now that we have the solution, it is easier for us to find a document, it only takes one click to find a document and print it,” Lobé said.
Industry players say digital archiving is the next challenge of the 21st century. This digitization was also the focus of a forum for insurance professionals held on May 15, in Douala. Participants reiterated the need to secure data through digitization to avoid loss.
The International Telecommunication Union, ITU, is fully supporting the project here. In late May, it organized the first international conference on the development of the digital economy for Central African countries in Yaoundé.
“Digital archiving is a necessity now and any serious entity must devote itself to ensure maximum efficiency. It is also to avoid the mistakes that can be made by the lack of memory,” said Vice Rector of the University of Yaoundé 1, Prof Jean Emmanuel Pondi.
At the end of the session, African countries were encouraged to utilize the opportunities offered by the digital revolution.
Culled from Africanews

War triggers foodstuff price hikes

The festering internecine war pitting Southern Cameroon separatists against the Biya regime has triggered a pernicious fixture in the livelihoods of many inhabitants of the affected Northwest and Southwest Regions reflected in foodstuff price hikes.
Food stuff including plantains, cocoyams, tapioca aka garri, tomatoes and melons have witnessed a steady price increase especially, in Kumba, the economic hub of the Southwest Region.
Kumba, Meme Divisional headquarters and junction town linking all other Divisions to Buea, Southwest Regional headquarters has been known for abundance in food supply to other markets.
However, since the escalation of hostilities at the beginning of this year characterized by routine gun battles, incineration of whole villages, destitution of their inhabitants and eventual desertion, business persons say food supply from villages to the urban markets has drastically reduced, thereby making the little that is available very expensive.
Ma Manyi, food stuff vendor at the Kumba main market told The Rambler that “it’s not our making that food is expensive. We know that but, there is nothing we can do. At first we bought plantains at cheaper rates from farmers but today most of those farmers are in the bushes and these plantains remain their major food.”
She explained further that the number of control posts they have to “settle” for both the military and ‘Amba boys’ before reaching Kumba all add to the increase in prices.
Also, one of such commodities which has witnessed a sharp increase in the market is melon commonly known as egusi. As at Saturday, June 9, 2018, when this reporter visited the market, a glass of unpeeled melon sold at FCFA200, a price which consumers say is twice for the same quantity which sold at a FCFA100 or less during the same month in previous years. Traders say this is so because what is being supplied now is old stock for last year and warn that if the fighting persists the prices might even triple because farmers who ought to be working are hiding in the forests.
Traders also attribute the high prices of food to the inaccessible nature of major highways to Kumba because of frequent gun attacks recently. Some say the fact that the railway in Kumba for some time now is not functioning due to security reasons has affected the large quantity of food which came in from the Littoral Region.
Apart from foodstuff, drinks of some targeted brewing companies have had FCFA 100 added to the normal prices. These retailers say there is a high risk involved in buying and stocking the drinks even when the breweries manage to effect some distribution mostly, in urban vicinities.

Kumba ‘beer refugees’ flood other towns

Just as the Southern Cameroon crisis has affected trade, free flow of business and education, it may also, end up a slap on the face to most beer lovers in Kumba who now go for days without a sip, as the seething political upheaval seeps into the drinking economy of K-town. This seems to be the outcome of a war pledged against a particular brewery’s products by so called Ambazonian fighters, who have reportedly set a number of trucks ablaze, and promised torture and death, to any unfortunate vendors caught selling what they classify as taboo products.
Beer counters in Kumba are now scanty, prices increasing with beer lovers unable to drink to their satisfaction, or to drunkenness as it had been the case in the numerous drinking spots that had flooded the town. Many denizens in the town have gone to the extent of spending over FCFA3000 each in a day, driving or using public transport, to neighboring towns like Buea just to quench their thirst for beer.
Many who come to Buea, for drinking sake, drink irresponsibly to the point of drunkenness nudged by the reality of not having a glance at a beer bottle when they return home. Some few weeks back, a severe accident occurred along the Mile 2 road and reports held that, the victims were inhabitants of Kumba who drove up to Buea to drink, and were returning heavily drunk.
According to a commercial bus driver who identified himself as Black Jack, he has witnessed instances in which, passengers plead with him and pay him hard cash, to smuggle beer into Kumba.
Kumba, popularly known as K-town has witnessed serious fighting and exchange of gunshots in previous days. Kumba is not the first to experience such beer scarcity as other towns like Muyenge have been suffering serious beer shortages, due to the beer “ban” resulting from the crisis. Peace still remains farfetched in most Anglophone localities, as killing, kidnapping and gunshots still remain the order of the day.
By Atemebeh Ngewung Lordfred

Douala Ports Authority begins wreck removal after 3 decades

The operation that was launched last week is the first of such in 30 years is the first of its kind as the Port of Douala-Bonaberi seeks to be more competitive, efficient and attractive in its service delivery.
It was launched by the Minister of Transport Jean Ernest Massena Ngalle Bibehe alongside the Director of the Douala Ports Authority Cyrus Ngo’o and is aimed at clearing the seaport of shipwreck which will pave the way for a free flow of maritime activities, provide more business space for the Ports Authority of Douala-Bonaberi.
“The (Douala Ports Authority) management expects that space will be created for four more docks when the broken down vessels are removed. This is also expected to facilitate the berthing of more vessels, thereby boosting business,” the Ports Authority of Douala said in a statement.
Given the complexity of the situation, 25 wrecks have been earmarked for removal during this first phase which will clear access to the docks as well as fishing docks that are major priorities for the moment.
The operation will be extended to the other docks, namely the commercial wharf, the woods dock and the military wharf. The Tiko, Limbe and Limbe 2 docks will equally follow in the next phase of the operation, management of the Douala Ports Authority said.
Wrecks of various types such as dredgers, trawlers, tugboats, service boats, ferries, cargo liners will be removed in particles and debris, given that some are in an advanced state of degradation.
This operation follows a busy week for the Ports Authority of Douala-Bonaberi marked by the signing of an accord with the Customs department to improve on the quality of services offered to users in their operations, pre and post clearance.
Edwin Fongod, Director General of the Customs department and Cyrus Ngo’o Director of the Port Authority of Douala signed the partnership in the presence of the Ministers of Transport and Finance.
The Port Authority of Douala-Bonaberi sees the Customs Department as a major player in bringing together stakeholders in both the public and private sectors involved with the port for consultations and exchanges aimed at harmonizing and improving on import/export activities in the country, authorities said.
“The Customs Administration plays (an) essential role in the management of the smooth movement of goods and persons across our borders,” Cyrus Ngo’o, the Director General of the Douala Ports Authority said.
It is therefore one of the pillars of revenue mobilization of the State, and one of the regulators of the economy, particularly in its role as an essential link in research performance of port operations and the competitiveness of the Port of Douala,” he added.
By Francis Ajumane

Shredded Cameroon can still be recuperated – Nico Halle

Barrister Nico Halle is not a run-of-the-mill personality that can be cajoled into an interview if he perceives that long earned and nurtured reliability is on the line. The current Bar General Assembly president and international peace crusader was recently in Buea for a private function.
However, his concern for immediate return to peace and by extension social justice and equity had the better part of him, leading to acquiescence to an interview to edify Cameroonians on some very burning issues pertaining to the current crises in the country and governance as a whole.
Judging by his discourse, he eschews confrontation like a plague and sees no reason why other Cameroonians should not make it part of their personal mottos, if only as contribution to a society of enduring peace and stability.
He agrees that issues have been allowed to deteriorate to current levels because of mutual display of irreverence for the word of God that is encapsulated in love for one another and country.
Nevertheless, as gloomy as the prevailing circumstance may seem, he sees Cameroon coming out of the present doldrums fired by confidence, determination and love. The peace crusader in him makes him exude an aura of implacable optimism in the eventuality of reason prevailing over the current irrationality being exhibited by protagonists in the war of attrition pitting Government forces against alleged separatists with obeisance to a yet to be midwifed Ambazonia Republic.
As euphemistic as his pronounced modesty and training as lawyer could permit him to come across, his narrative is inexorably, suffused with a consensual and urgent need for Cameroonians to sit around a table and dialogue, akin to typical Bantu cosmogony of solving intractable issues under the shade of a tree in the village square.
As usual, it is a pot-pourri of dexterity in handling complex issues in a very readable manner that can only emanate from The Rambler stable. (See inside pages)
Cameroonis on fire.If you agree, would you want to discuss how things became this bad?
For about close to 20 months there has been tension in the two Anglophone Regions,so it is not news to anybody. You know so well as a peace crusader, spanning more than 28 years, I am saddened, disturbed, troubled and worried by the situation. Since the eruption of the crisis, everybody knows I have been on the field preaching peace, preaching harmony, preaching serenity and also praying that God almighty that created this great nation, Cameroon, should look down with pity and instruct his children, Cameroonians how they can come out of this quagmire. So that is what I have been doing and requesting also that all the stakeholders; that is, Cameroonians of various orientations should act with restraint. I have, since the beginning, condemned the killing of civilians, policemen, soldiers and gendarmes, I have condemned the destructions; all the property that is going belong to Cameroonians; those who are dying are our brothers and sisters. That is why I have been pleading with Cameroonians to go on their knees, reason better and come up with lasting solutions because nobody ever benefits from violence. People benefit from peace and I always say peace is the weapon of the strong,while violence is the weapon of the weak. In my peace crusading, I have also highlighted the importance of love, justice, equity, the rule of law, the respect for human rights and liberties, patriotism, accountability, transparency, the fear of the Lord.
These are all what we call core spiritual values which will constitute the platforms for peace to exist. That is my mantra. I stand on that and there is no problem without a solution.
You just reeled out, peace, justice, fear of the Lord and all that… The common assumption is that nature doesn’t entertain a vacuum.By the same token, if there is no justice, equity, rule of law, then nature would most likely fill up, make up foran apparent collapse of leadership so to speak…
When you talk of leadership in terms of…
Wherethere is good leadership, there would naturally be a concomitantwilling followership…
I am thinking of leadership in terms of all Cameroonians. All Cameroonians are called upon to contribute towards what we might call true leadership and it is true that there are people who might be in leadership positions starting from their homes, from schools and universities. Mayors, parliamentarians, ministers, senators, the justice system and all of these are leadership positions. If each of these groups were to perform their duties with love, justice, equity, respecting the fundamental law which is the constitution, what we have just described as a falling situation would be reduced to the barest minimum. There is no perfect system in the world but there are systems that are good.Good for me, is not perfect. So, when we talk of leadership, we should look at leadership holistically. You are a leader in your office.Youare interviewing me. I am in Buea for a thesis defencebut, I am being interviewed now because you approached me. You are the leader, the way you approached me showed that you are a leader. You were cordial, you were welcoming, you were nice and that is leadership.I am thinking of leadership in terms of people who have control over units, those small units globally now make the entire nation.
One istempted to think that in Cameroon, crass authority has taken precedence over humble leadership.Leadership is serving; it is serving the people humbly and not leading haughtily. But we are like stuck with a clique of people calledparty leaders, ministers, governors, et al, dictating to the people, breathing down their necks. We think that is the reason for the protests, the uprisings.
That is another way of looking at it and you do have the right to that approach. I am looking at leadership from a holistic point of view because itis this conceptualization that brings about passing the buck.If all the homes were being well managed… I remember when I was very active as Ntumfor, I did indicate that if each village were well managed in Cameroon, Cameroon will have no problem. But if some villages are well managed and others are not, there is trouble. So, I am looking at leadership from a macro point of view because in my house, I should be able to assume responsibility.But I should understand that my wife has a role to play, my children have role to play for serenity to reign in my house. If Nico Halle alone wants to install peace in my house, it will not work; my wife must say ‘yes, we need peace,’ the children also must be part of it, my cooks too must be part…
Which is why we think, we don’t have leadership per se; rather we are stuck with a clique that is to say the very least, assuming ownership of Cameroon.
Again, that’s the way you look at it, but another way of looking at it is informing the people that each and every one of us has a role to play for that kind of leadership that is in your mind to function because leaders cannot succeed when the people whom they are leading are not contributing their own quota.
We insist that the typical Cameroonian leaderinsists for everybody else to shiver and pander; offices must shut down, road must be blocked for hours when he is moving from one point of town to the other. It is a tin god phenomenon.
Thank you very much for that take. If it is a tradition or usage that when you must move certain arrangements must be made to enable you move because you are representing the people, if the people accept that from their will, then that is what they are practicing. The only way we can depart from that is by coming up with some other form that is better than what you are describing.
Are you in effect endorsing a situation whereby a woman in labour must postpone bringing forth her babyor that access to hospitals should be blocked for hours,because a leader is about to drive by?
No, definitely…
I don’t know any system that will…
But that is what obtains in Cameroon.
If you have taken note of that…
Yes, we have,
Then it is unfortunate but I don’t think that it is proper.
Or,that state institutions should stop functioning because a leader ismoving from pillar to post?
Again, I get back to what I said.How did we get to that? If it has been in vogue, how did we get to it and why must we not depart from it because we are moving modern. Why can we not depart from it? Can we depart from it? These are the questions…
Ok, we love that and we hasten to ask you; how did Uganda get to the stage of inventing an Idi Amin? It is either Ugandans were heckled or suppressed to a stage where they couldn’t do their own thinking or, they became such sycophants, that they couldn’t point out to Amin that he was naked; they might have been cheering him all along until he inevitably stepped on a banana peeling and kismet decided his fate. The same could be said of Romania’s NicolaeCeausescu, Slobodan Milosevic of Bosnia Herzegovina and the like.The dustbin of history is full of such impulsive tyrants.
Well, you have a mastery of…
Not exactly;What we are indicating here is thatCameroonians have cultivatedthis cringing culture of deifying ordinary mortals who should be their humble servants.
We don’t mean to flatter you, Barrister Halle, but you radiate humility, your social status notwithstanding.Candidly, to get rid of the collective suicide that Cameroonians are steadily committing, we think that something has to give sway somewhere and that is a clear cut moral, leadership restructuring. It is our honestview,Sir.
Yeah it is your observation
This question may have been addressed above, but maybe for emphasis, how, do you think, the arson that has so far been visited on some 70 Anglophone Cameroonian villageswith hundreds of people murdered be checked?
I don’t know. I am not privy to those statistics but I said and continue to say that there is no problem in the world without a solution. I just think we have to take our destinies into our hands, to be honest to ourselves, get together and chart way of getting out of this situation which you have just described. Of course, this problem which you have described could have been taken care of if we had love, justice, equity; if we loved this nation, you and me and all those who have gone down to say this cannot happen. But I am sure you know so well that there are people who are not happy when there is peace because they exploit this kind of situation for political or financial gains. I really ask myself where these kinds of people are coming from. People who don’t espouse peace, who don’t promote peace, who are comfortable in violence, who are comfortable in conflict, in quarrels, in misunderstandings; they can create chaos in order to take advantage and pull fast ones. With all of that, it accounts for what we have just described. So, it is possible that we can bank on what is done.Scales have fallen off our eyes, the masks have fallen too.Let us sit down.It is the moment for us to tell ourselves that we love each other; we are our neighbor’s keeper, we doesn’t deserve what is happening; that people are being killed, there are burnings, there are destructions, refugee migration problem.It is only sordid; it should not happen to a blessed nation like ours.
Barrister Nico Halle, this is a very pointed question.It is assumed that forces of law andorder are trained to be exceptionally disciplined and more methodical that the ordinary civilian. But when at the drop of a hat, they loot, rape, kill and burn villages it is dangerous for the polity, don’t you think?
No, nobody would say it’s normal. Nobody in their right senses would say it is normal so…
Would you then advise someone in distress to run to a gendarme, soldier or policeman for protection? That would be tantamount to nursing suicidal instincts, right?
I think I have said earlier on, that situations like this are exploited.Either way, the gendarmes are dying, the police and the army; the civilians are also dying in their numbers from what…
Unfortunately, hundreds ofinnocent, hapless, unarmedcivilians are being slaughtered like chickens;not the ragtag army that is said to be fanning the embers of secession.Note that those who are fighting the bush war hardly have houses anywhere.They are in the bush fromwhere they sporadically attack…
What I am saying is that the situation is very painful. I have said that whether a gendarme, a police, an army or a civilianis dying, they are all our brothers and sisters, who should notdie. They are burning property, whether private or public.It is our property, so, we are taking ourselves many years back. When people are displaced, it usually very difficult to…
By the same token you are stating that nobody should kill.
You can be sure. Nobody has the right to take the life of any person.
And the forces of law and order, how do we bring them back to start playing their constitutional role of protecting that life and property?
I have condemned this from Day One,that whether it is the forces of law and order or the civilians, nobody has the right to take another person’s life. You don’t deserve to die. I have said this across the board. So I look at it globally; I don’t go into specifics. I will tell you that for the past 13months, I don’t sleep.Anybody who goes to bed and sleeps in the face of this situation lacks love because when I watch certain images my heart bleeds.I am one person who is empathetic and sympathetic. I am compassionate; I don’t like to see a drop of blood. I don’t want to see a corpse; a corpse of natural death, fine, but when it comes from bullets, when it comes from rough handling and all of these, that tells me… and if you have noticed,I look emaciated. I do not sleep. It is not just because I am a Cameroonian but because of my role as a peace crusader. As a peace crusader, I am asking myself questions; why can all of us in Cameroon not be converted into peace crusaders?
Are we agreed that one or two institutions, whether traditional or corporate of our country have failed in their mission, in their assigned mission to Cameroonians, which is why people are being shot at, people are not listening, people are getting into the bushes, some people are burning down others’ homes?
Unless and until our mindset is changed and unless I start looking at you as my brother with love; I am not talking about brother from the same Region, no!Brother from the same nation, we are all brothers. That is how I look at it. Now, some people like I said when they go to bed they can sleep, they can eat, I lose appetite. When I just hear that there is burning in this part, no appetite and my day is shattered, my week is shattered. And that justifies why I am permanently on the field. Last time up to including December, I used to go… but I was advised, ‘take note Nico Halle, you are doing a great job, people are appreciating what you are doing but not everybody is happy that you want this situation to stop because of what they are benefiting from it. Please don’t announce your goings and your comings, just go.’ So now, I just target groups and I go, they don’t know where I am going.
Have your interventions and preachments paid off?
They have paid off. You know if I were not peace crusading, you shouldn’t even ask that. If I have reconciled journalists, families, traditional rulers, politicians, pastors, lawyers that you know, then you can imagine. If I were not on the field,… I am not blowing my trumpet, but maybe the situation would have escalated; it might have been worse. So, it is paying off and I thank God for that. I am sure that the fact that people appreciate what I am doing because they know the impact that my peace crusading has had in all of these.
Would you say the present imbrogliohas stainedwhat ought to be the immaculate canvas of legality in Cameroon? We are asking this based on the fact that security forces are on record as having beaten up Lawyers seized their wigs and gowns, muddied them; in short, desecrated the judiciary?Has this pristine act of the khaki boys compromised the third estate of the realm role of the judiciary in this country?
I did condemn that act very cogently,
We are asking if it has watered down legal prestige.
I am saying that these were people; these were lawyers who were asking for what is good for the nation. When you saw the grievances of the lawyers there was no trifling item in their grievances; they were asking for the OHADA Law to be in both languages…
And something else
And a few other things, ok, and then for them to have been vandalized, rough handled… I came out with communiqués condemning that and I still consider that that was not proper because nowhere in the world are lawyers treated that way. I think that things have escalated beyond just the lawyers and the teachers grievances to other proportions which God alone knows and so, to be very honest with you, I have not ceased condemning in the hardest of terms the behaviour of some of our Cameroonians; be they in the civil, in the army, in the forces of law and order, I have condemned that. It is on record that I have been very constant as far as that is concerned.
You have this antecedent of checking, attending to moral, social and why not, political values;ensuring that they are on course. In crusading for peace and changing mindsets, have you approached those who referred to other Cameroonians as ‘rats and cockroaches’ that ought to be exterminated and the local authority that repeatedly referred to a cultural entity in Cameroon as ‘dogs.’Have you reached out to change the hearts of those who assembled at the Buea Mountain Hotel and preached Rwanda-type xenophobia? Remember some of the xenophobes were rewarded with appointments to top national offices.

All of that is unacceptable. You will agree that it is decadence.
Have you been to them?
I don’t …
Let’s be blunt. We are talking about the ranking Regional administrator who kept calling people of a particular cultural expression dogs.
Did I need to go to the administrator? When I condemn a situation, when I condemn the violence and disproportionate words used, I don’t need to call… if the cap suits you, wear it. If I must name, then it is unfortunate. But you know what I have been doing and that is non-negotiable. I don’t compromise when it comes to the crime decadence. You know me and you have been following up and so, it is not about names.
But we thought if you don’t confront them, face to face, it would be like tacklingdisease symptoms and not the disease itself.
If I were to indicate that all of that including others is unacceptable, do I need to come to tell you that the words you used were inflammatory, were out of proportion? Otherwise, then I must visit every Cameroonian who has made a statement.
No, symbolically you might visit one or two persons, I think Jesus did it.
But do you know that I have visited people in Cameroon? When they talk of peace crusading, it means meeting people, meeting groups of people; using papers, interviews, making pronouncements on television and on radio. Once, you do that, you reach out to so many people and they understand my take on this whole thing. I think there is hardly any Cameroonian who up to, and including now has not known Nico Halle’s position.
We are also saying that interpersonal communication can only reinforce mass communication; if you came to me directly and said, ‘what you said go back and unsay it,’ you would have touched a heart.
You see, that is your own approach. I am Nico Halle and having my own approach. My approach is not confrontational. Peace crusading is not confrontational, that is the difference between Nico Halle and others. They will go confrontational, but Nico Halle is peaceful. There is no day you will hear me insulting anybody or promoting violence and it starts from my house, it starts from my office, it starts from wherever. I know that the fact that my stand for the truth is unbendable, uncompromising causes people to smear me, persecute me and blackmail me and each time I see that, I am happy, it means that I am doing something.
Would you die ready for it, if you died crusading for peace?
I am sure you know that in November, December 2017 when it was bad on the ground and I was out for two weeks in the Northwest and Southwest, I went to Mamfe; that was the boiling period.Just the day before, they had killed two gendarmes. I went to where the killings took place against all counsel. I went to all the military bases and I spoke with them. I told them that we need to respect our human rights. I prayed with them and I asked that the Lord should enable them do work for the nation. I went around; I met politicians in the Northwest, met some in Southwest and these are the two Regions that are greatly affected.
If you were to ask me if I will die, if I left Bamenda and everybody who heard I was going to Mamfe said don’t go. In any case I told them I will die eventually, if I die communing, fellowshipping with my people of the Southwest, I will not care. But I went and met the people; they embraced me and that impacted. The fact that somebody had showed concern at that time… I could have been shot if they wanted to, but to be very honest with you, they embraced me in the Northwest and the Southwest Regions where I went to.
Have the authorities recognized and appreciated what you are doing,whichothers could only set out to dowith blaring sirens in tow and for mouth watering per diems?
I want to let you know that, across the board, I have been appreciated and that is what for me is the motto; that is what motivates me to do more, because I have been appreciated for what I have been doing for peace to reign in this nation; not only in the Northwest and Southwest. My peace crusading is not limited to the Northwest and Southwest. You are aware that of recent, I had an international award for peace crusading not just in Cameroon, Africa but the entire world. It means that the ripples of what I have been doing are worldwide.
And has that included perhaps reaching out to the Diaspora Cameroonians who are like fanning the embers of the separatism?
When you preach peace, you are preaching peace for all. You don’t say this peace or what I am preaching should go for this people and this should go for the other people. You preach peace for all, because peace is good for everybody and that is my take on that. I am preaching peace and I will continue to preach until peace returns.If peace does not return, I will continue to preach. I am praying and I know sooner or later, peace will return to this nation. It is a beautiful nation blessed by God. God cannot allow Cameroon to be shredded and the state at which it is, it, can still be recuperated. I think that we just need to be confident, determined, and love and have confidence in each other, we will come out of this situation. I am very optimistic and positive.
On that comforting note, Barrister Nico Halle, we want to thank you for accepting to talk to us.
Thank you very much, may God bless you and bless The Rambler.
Interviewed by Nester Asonganyi & Charlie Ndi Chia

MINADER to repopulate Bakassi with 500 farmers

A campaign to repopulate the Bakassi Peninsula by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, MINADER has been launched in Buea.
MINADER aims at doing this through a special mini-programme that will trigger economic boom by developing agricultural activities in the area.
Officially launching the programme to select young farmers to be installed or reinstalled in the Bakassi Peninsula on Thursday, May 24, the Technical Adviser No 1 at MINADER, Enang James Enang, said the selected 500 young farmers are going to be given minimum packages to start with. He said they will not come empty handed but will benefit from well-equipped houses ranging from beds, mattresses, kitchen utensils, palour equipment and many more.
“We want to put these youths in the best possible environment so that they can efficiently and effectively carry out agricultural practices,” Enang said.
He added that the age bracket as at now is below 40 years but that when the application files would be collected, the commission that would be put in place might look at all the peculiarities; if there are some applicants who are above the age bracket but fulfill many of the other criteria, the commission might consider.
About the types of crops these young farmers would be cultivating in the Peninsula, the Technical Adviser said: “We have identified seven crops that are suitable in that area. For cash crops we have identified oil palm, cocoa and rubber; for food crops we have identified watermelon, okra, egussi and cassava. Probably when we finish the soil suitability test which we are about to carry out, we might come up with new crops that are more suitable in the area. Again, our objective is to get those youth to carry out agriculture and make money.”
To Dr. Mohamadou, Inspector General of Regional Services at the Southwest Governor’s Office, the importance of Bakassi cannot be overemphasized in the life of Cameroon, which is why Government has put in place many projects among which is a special mini-programme for 500 young farmers. He said that the Government has already provided more than 3,000 hectares of land for the exercise in order to permit the youth boost the sector of agriculture.
It should be noted that MINADER is offering the opportunity to 500 young Cameroonians of both sexes wishing to settle or resettle in the Bakassi Peninsula, Ndian Division of the Southwest Region to carry out agricultural production activities. Of the 500 young farmers; 250 new yoor market gardening. Applications should be submitted to the Regional, Divisional, and Sub-Divisional Delegations of MINADER oung farmers would be recruited throughout the national territory; 200 young farmers/farm families residing in the area; 50 fishermen/women fr at the nearest Agricultural Posts not later than June 30, 2018.
By Nester Asonganyi

STEM prize for scientific innovation launched

The second edition of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, STEM, Prize has been launched in Yaounde.
The competition launched by the Denis and Lenora Foundation seeks to encourage young Cameroonians and Africans, especially young girls to map out a career in the STEM that brings together young researchers from secondary schools and institutions with the potential to conceive and build life-changing projects in the society.
Presenting the project to the media on Friday, Melaine Nsaikila, Senior Policy Analyst at the Denis and Lenora Foundation said it seeks to contribute in innovation and technology so as to meet up with the ‘2035 Vision.’
“We have decided to initiate this to encourage young Cameroonians, specifically women, to participate in both studies and in terms of project proposals and implementation in STEM,” Nsaikila noted.
“Africa is still lagging tremendously behind in terms of investments in science, technology as well as in education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, so the STEM prize is all about the process to demystify science and come up with solutions to their problems.”
The competition is open to students between the ages of 13 and 21 but encourages a massive participation of young girls to ensure that they have the opportunity to showcase their skills in this domain, the organizers said.
Thus the organizers have recommended the presence of at least a girl in each group of five that will submit their project but hope to see more girls-dominated groups.
The competition
The competition that was officially launched online on April 16, shall receive applications from students all over the country and Africa till July 30, when a panel of judges will shortlist the best projects.
The top five winners would be awarded prizes worth over Five million francs CFA during a gala night on October 26.
It was equally an opportunity for former laureates of the competition to present their projects and inspire would-be competitors on what their projects could look like at this year’s edition.
That was the case with Mimfolo Cédric, student of Lycée Nzamangoué in the Centre Region who was part of a group of five that won the second prize worth FCFA 1 million at the last competition through the solar and renewable energy project.
“We proposed a project to build a locally-made solar kit and solar lamps that will help electrify rural communities that do not have access to electricity. The money won from the competition was used to buy materials which we used to build the kit while part was used to develop other renewable energy projects,” the student said.
By Francis Ajumane

National Employment Fund set to curb unemployment

Encouraged by imminent possibility of some solace to the ambient unemployment in the country even if minute, job seekers within the Southwest Region have for five days converged on the National Employment Fund, NEF Limbe, for the third edition of the Job Discovery Days. Apart from coming to grips with the various activities of NEF during these days, they, also listened to career talks with some spontaneously recruited by a number of companies present during the event.
According to a Director of the National Employment Fund, Ndziga Obama Open Days is an opportunity to showcase to the people what they do daily. During such ceremony, he stated, there is usually graduation for those who enrolled and were trained at the NEF. He added that those graduating were trained based on the needs of the job market. This, he said is to be sure that when the graduates are going out, they should be ready for the job market since the modus of their training makes them fit for the job market. He revealed that this is the third edition of the new version of their Open Days.
Going by him, they usually had youth employment week but, they have moved to a new version which is Job Discovery Days. He added that, the only criterion to be part of the programme is to be a job seeker, registered in their data bank. From there, the Director stated, they would place the job seeker depending on their profile and as soon as the training programme is set, such persons would be called to the training centre.
On job seekers who complain of submitting files but, not being called after some years, Ndziga Obama stated that it all depends on the profile of the candidate and the job opportunities which comes. He explained that they are not the ones giving the jobs but a link between the job seekers and employers. He revealed that if a job seeker drops his files without seeking counsel from the counselors, such a person may find herself in such fate. He added that it is a process and the job seeker should be part of it.
Ndingi Cyprian, a trainee of the National Employment Fund said he was overwhelmed with joy because during his one year- training and internship, he has gathered so much. Ndingi noted that though he studied electricity in school, he was trained at the NEF in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning from which he has learned a lot. Before his training, he continued, he had the passion to prior to his graduation. He has in consequence, been in the struggle to be self employed from the place where he carried on his internship. He hoped that with the skill acquired and the help of God, he would be self employed.
However to Esunge Mokoko Richard, a vibrant youth who came for the Job Discovery Days as a job seeker stated that, it was quite challenging but more colourful the moment he came to the National Employment Fund. In his opinion, he discovered their unimaginable during the training which actually motivated him to get in touch with one of their objectives- financing of projects. He said that it was very beneficial because it helped to enlarge his employability and with the financing by the NEF he discovered he could easily realize his projects. Furthermore, the NEF by his reckoning has some undeniable qualities like funding 50 percent of one’s salary which has never been heard of anywhere. This would also motivate companies to employ those registered in the NEF. He however, called peers to rush to the NEF and take advantage of what they offer whether skillful or not for the institution has what it takes to boost their employability.
By Relindise Ebune