Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor has made public some of the reasons why he slammed the negotiations door with the Biya Francophone Beti Ewondo government. The human rights lawyer who is also the chairman of the Cameroon Common Law lawyers’ consortium said that the lawyers have asked the CPDM government to release with immediate effect all the children kidnapped in Bamenda and Kumba, who were transferred to Yaoundé Central Prison or the State Secretariat for Defense (SED). He added that negotiations could not be continued without these children being released.
Nkongho Felix Agbor told Nouvelle Expression newspaper that in a dialogue, the process must be a win-win situation “If we release the children, we can continue to dialogue.” According to him, no guarantees as to the safety and health of the young people arrested during the demonstrations in Bamenda were made available to the Anglophone lawyers. He said there was need for government agents to take off ego in this process.
The Chairman of the consortium noted that among the British Southern Cameroons children “that were arrested and taken to Yaoundé are some who are ill, are ill-treated.” Barrister Agbor Balla wondered aloud that “They were arrested in the South West and North West, what are they doing in Yaoundé in the Center region? When people demonstrate in Yaoundé and they are arrested, do they take them to Bamenda or Buea?
The Buea based lawyer also revealed that several other grievances made the meeting impossible. He hinted that “a strike was staged in the South West and North West. We are organizing a meeting in Yaoundé. The Commission is unbalanced. The head of the Commission is someone from Yaoundé; the Secretariat is run by a francophone. These are unacceptable things.”
According to Nkongho Felix Agbor, even if the CPDM government releases all detainees arrested in the North-West and South-West Regions, negotiations will only take place in Bamenda or Buea. The consortium has also announced that it will call for an independent commission of inquiry to shed light on the acts of violence perpetrated on citizens in Bamenda and Kumba. Concerning the thorny problem of federalism, he thinks it is important to discuss it. “Federalism,” he says, “is not secession.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai