Governor asks refugees to come out of forests

Feigning indifference to the persistence of turmoil emanating from the current crisis pitting Southern Cameroonian separatists against the Biya regime, Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai has declared that his Region is under control even as he acknowledged what he terms manageable disturbances that call for collaboration from the entire population to put an end to violence and embrace dialogue. He was speaking in Buea during a recent Regional administrative and security coordination meeting.
He referred to the meeting a traditional ritual, aimed at assessing the administrative and security situation in the Region. “We have had exchanges with Senior Divisional Officers and the Regional Chief of Defense forces and I will say the Region is under control. There are some disturbances but with the collaboration of the entire population, people of goodwill, traditional rulers, political leaders, the elites and the media, I think we will overcome all the challenges,” he said. Okalia added that preparations for future events are already underway given that the current school year will soon be over and, preparation for the next school year must be embarked upon because all the activities begin now, which circumstance justifies the presence of all SDOs in the Region and other collaborators.
In this connection, the Governor said: “We wish to continue in sensitizing the population to be aware that the truth is for them to come back to their homes; the forces of law and order are there to protect them against all acts of terrorism, hence they shouldn’t be afraid of the forces of law and order; rather they should be confident and be reassured in the presence of the military.
“We are inviting the elites, traditional rulers to come back and continue to work and sensitize their children especially, those who have been misguided and are now in the bushes for them to return home because dialogue is on the lips of everyone and we cannot dialogue with people who are in the bushes; let them return and the administration is there to exchange with them so that the situation should return to normal everywhere in the Region.”
Emphasizing further on the need for refugees to come out of hiding, the Governor added that, at the grassroots, traditional rulers, all leaders including family heads, elites, should return and go to the village to discuss with some of the children or the young men who to him are misguided and are now in the bushes. He said that what they are doing is detrimental and has no future emphasizing that it is the discussion with the entire community that can solve the problem.
Okalia assumed that it is only when people will return to their respective villages that dialogue would continue and one would be able to meet with the hierarchy for possible solutions. He also, appealed for violence to be put to a halt and “things returned to normal, before any other initiative because today the entire society is disturbed by the prevailing violence.” He talked of the Head of State having allocated many projects to the Region, many of which portend much hope to the population.
All the assurances notwithstanding, the governor admitted that the meeting was taking place within a peculiar context “that continues to be marked by the socio politically tense environment which is now commonly referred to as the Anglophone crisis.”
The governor acknowledged that the nation has registered the loss of many defense and security forces, school authorities, traditional rulers and even denizens assassinated under various circumstances by what he dubbed “the so called Ambazonia Defense Forces.” He however, appreciated the authorities present who have despite the harsh and tense atmosphere carried out their duties smoothly.
By Relindise Ebune

Meme parents unfazed by schools booklist olive branch

Government olive branch to aggrieved parents who had been writhing under the pains of exorbitant demands from the Ministries of Basic and Secondary Education through nebulous textbook prescription which has now been mitigated following Wednesday June 13, 2018 pronouncement of a more friendly policy effective from 2018/2019 academic year by the National Council for the Approval of Textbooks and Didactic materials for Schools, does not seem to have impressed parents in Meme Division of the Southwest Region. The new measures would have generally been welcome if not of the disturbing school situation in most of the Division.
For instance, according to information made public, the prices of the books have been reduced. The number of textbooks per subject has equally been reduced to one, thereby harmonizing the textbooks across the country. Also, for secondary schools, the books chosen are going to stay in the curriculum for a six-year period before any changes can be effected. All these are what parents have longed for, for over a decade now.
But, despite this dream come true, changes put in place by the Government in order to make education affordable to all, parents in Meme Division, one of the most hit in the Southwest by the ongoing crisis say the publication of the textbooks or the reduction of prices will not solve the schooling problems the Division is experiencing, especially at the level of the villages.
According to Cedric Ashutabi, a parent, the changes by the Government is a welcome initiative. He, however, thinks that a lot more needs to be done to see that children in villages who have not had their campuses opened since 2016 go back to school. “To me, having textbooks are not as important as having children go to school. If text books are there and no students to use them, it will be of no benefit to us.” The Government knows exactly what to do to get children back to school,” he said.
Mrs. Ngano Elizabeth, a private primary school teacher who has not been in service since 2016 feels that the necessity for students to be in school is more than that of expensive or many textbooks. She would want the Government to ensure that children across the nation are in school before talking about books to assist them acquire knowledge.
Another parent who opted for anonymity noted: “the Government is aware that we don’t have schools fully operational in our communities but for schools within Kumba. The poor turnout could even be noticed on number of students who registered for public exams. If they are still neglecting the issue and concentrating more on the books then we are into more trouble.”
However, some other parents whose children survived the storm of schooling in Kumba have appreciated the action of the Government relating to the harmonization and price reduction of books.
By NGENDE ESTHER

Muea gets own ‘dose’ of kidnappings

Late Chief Molinge David, of Muea, with the philosophy and dignity he exuded, could not have imagined his beloved chiefdom, Muea in total pandemonium, gripped with fear triggered by military invasion, road blocks, kidnapping and looting, gun shots that have turned it into a breeding ground for refugees.
Peace has eluded Muea in recent times as the flames of the seething Anglophone crisis hits her and its neighbourhoods. The situation in Muea is getting worse and life is becoming more nightmarish as testified by inhabitants. The climax was reached following the kidnap of the Commissioner of Muea Police Precinct, Tazisong Christopher recently around Mile 16 Bolifamba in broad day light and ferried to an unknown destination. He was freed by regular security forces last weekend. Reports hold that, the “Ambazonian fighters” invaded Muea in broad day light countless times, and on one occasion kidnapped a woman, known for regularly “blaspheming.”

Business in this area has also received a huge blow. Njie Lucy, a hair dresser, says she closes her shop by 5pm, because of the looming insecurity. She lamented that, her peak period in business is between 5 and 9pm, which has caused her much loss, adding that “I barely make even chicken change in a day.”
While places like Ekona are being completely deserted, as it believed to be hosting the secessionist fighters, other roads leading to Kumba, Ekona, and Malende stayed blocked even as we went to press.
By Atembeh Ngewung Lordfred

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