John Fru Ndi, Chairman of Cameroon’s frontline opposition party, Social Democratic Front has challenged President Paul Biya to personally put an end to the ongoing crisis in the English-speaking regions of the country
“Since people claim he is not aware of what is happening, I have personally told him. He sends people to the Bamenda, they return and tell him lies. I have informed him that people are being beaten up, arrested and intimidated in the North West and South West regions. I have told him to step in and say something or do something” Fru Ndi told CRTV reporters in a live broadcast of the reception of the AFCON trophy at the presidency February 7.
Let this politicians tell the truth. They sit down in Bamenda and write lies, blackmail people instead of solving problems. “I quarrel out there with the minister of communicaton. I told him am a federalist and if he says that anybody who talks about federation should be arrested and locked up, he should bring his police and lock me up. Because he was saying there is no Anglophone problem as if he forgot about the Northern Memorandum which they wrote. You cannot be complaining and ask other people not to complain. I don’t think that I want to live in a system which dictates and forces me to do things I don’t want to do.”
Cornered to dwell on the success of the national football team which had just won the AFCON for the fifth time,the SDF chieftain he was touched by the goal keeper who dedicated the victory to the North West and had to congratulate him and ask the players to forge ahead.
But noted, “I came here with mixed feelings. I’m rejoicing because the Indomitable Lions have won and raised the flag of Cameroon high. But in the North West and South West regions, the administration have pushed children to the point where they no longer respect that flag. The teachers’ problem is not one that started today. It started a long time ago. They had to fight to get the GCE Board and other things and today they have started fighting and government pretends that there is no problem.”
Quizzed on the fact that schooling in the said regions have not been effective since November 21, 2016, he advanced that the people are not going to school because their teachers have been locked up in Yaounde. “
Others are on the run. I suggested to the governor of the North West that government should lift the ban on the teacher’s union, release the people in jails and so that they can return to the dialogue table.
He recalled that during the last meeting with the teachers held with the ministers of education in January, they agreed (on Saturday) that they were going to meet on Wednesday. On Tuesday, their organisation (The Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium) was banned and the leaders arrested and caused others to go into hiding where they are till date.
“How can they ask teachers to go back to school? Do you think that they will be happy to go and teach when their colleagues have been locked up? Fru Ndi asked rhetorically, adding that some of them have been shot dead and authorities have continued to abduct children in the North West and South West regions and bringing them to Yaounde whereas there are competent courts in the regions.
Observers say asking President Biya to personally handle an issue is a waste of time. They argue that the president has voluntarily promised to personally supervise certain state activities such as the construction of the Ring Road in the North West region, but the results still leave much to be desired.