Breaking News: Nkwen Youths stage protest against the "Bansonisation" of their village

By Bakah Derick

Some Youths of Nkwen have since Thursday October 22, 2015 been in what many have described as a xenophobic protest. The protesting youths say they are against “the Bansonisation” (excessive presence of Nso people in Nkwen.) of Nkwen land. According to the youths, this is happening with the complicity of the Paramount Fon of Nkwen HM Fon Azehfor III who is still to clock two in office and provocation from Nso Nkwen settlers who are promising to buy the entire Nkwen Fondom including the palace.

The Youths against Fon’s Decision
The youths took to the street Thursday October 22, 2015 following what they say was the illegal sell of a parcel of Land behind the Fon’s palace to the Nso community in Bamenda. Though Fon Azehfor III has denied the sale of the land, he however accepts that he gave the said land to the Nso people for free following the outstanding and long history binding the two peoples. Accepting the generosity of their Fon, the youths said he should however allocate land for the Nso hall project elsewhere not behind the palace.

During a crisis meeting chaired by the Sub divisional officer for Bamenda III Ayuk Takang Walter this Friday 23, the Fon disclosed that for hundreds of years now, the Nkwen Palace has being “a breaking point” for the people of Nso during their coastal journeys. While explaining that there are matrimonial relationships between the Royal families of Nkwen and Nso, Fon Azehfor also disclosed that “the Fon of Nso even has a palace in Our Palace” (in the Nkwen palace he means) called “Ntoh Nfor Nso” meaning The Palace of the Fon of Nso.” According to the Fon there was no reason to worry about his gesture particularly at the time Nkwen is fast becoming more cosmopolitan.

HRM Fon Azehfor III of Nkwen 

Nkwen Youths versus Nso and the Catholic Church

After Fon Azehfor III diplomatically brought the matter to rest, the youths then turned their attention Friday October 23, 2015 in what they described as “the Bansonisation” of a church that is supposed to be theirs. To show their discontent, the youths stormed the Futru Parish main church house where only one of the Priest Rev Fr. Romeo Nguemteu was in. In a bid to calm the youths, he requested for a conversation with five representatives but the youths rejected the request. Following uncoordinated presentations of the facts, Fr Romeo then asked that they go and send the representatives for a talk later in the day. As the youths went away Fr. Romeo explained, he then contacted the Sub divisional officer who was attending the graduation ceremony of the Bamenda National Sports School with the Minister for Sports and Physical Education present. He however contacted the Auxiliary Bishop of Bamenda His Lordship Agabitus Nfon who instructed him to put his Parish Pastoral Council together to seek a way out. Before the programmed meeting security stormed the church yard to guarantee the security of the priest following instructions from administrative authorities in Mezam. Interpreting the situation, the youths said it was a calculated attempt by the Priest to get them arrested! a claimed Fr Romeo denied saying he did not call the security forces. Before leaving the church yard, the youths promised to return on Sunday with the intention to interrupt church services should there be no appropriate response to their complaints before 7am on Saturday October 24, 2015.

The DO during the crisis meeting accepted Fr Romeo’s denial saying that the security forces where alerted by other security services with the intervention of the Mezam SDO now Governor of the South Region Nguele Nguele Felix to protect the Priest.  

Following what the Bamenda III sub divisional officer told the crisis meeting, the youths had four major complains.
·        That since the creation of the St Michael’s Catholic school Futru-Nkwen only Nkwen people have been Head Teachers until now that a Nso woman has been appointed to head the over 20years school. According to the Nkwen youths only Nkwen people should ne head teachers and no one else worst of all Banso people (people from Nso in Bui Division)
·        That all assisting staff in the Parish of Nkwen extraction have been dismissed and replaced with Nso people.

·        That a hall project to cost a good number of millions has been awarded to a Nso man just like a project in the Nazareth center they say is worth over 50million.
·        They also blamed the priests for not recruiting Nkwen sons and daughters as nurses and staff of the St Francis of Assisi Catholic hospital Ntasen Nkwen.
Responding to all of these complains Madam Theresia Taminang President of the Futru Parish Pastoral Council PPC, said the recruitment and appointment of school authorities within the archdiocese was the exclusive preserve of the Archbishop who is the proprietor of schools. To the change of head teacher to non Nkwen only the Archbishop could answer.

On the Hall project, Ngominang Kingsley member of the PPC and the project committee denied the award of the Hall project to a non-Nkwen man saying that no contract has been awarded so far. He said there was a heavily announced project committee with Nkwen people making up over 80% of the total number.
Fr Romeo while answering to the recruitment of non Nkwen as assisting staff in the parish house said “all night watchmen are Nkwen, two of three cooks are Nkwen, and for the drivers he said one was Noni and the other from the west Region. To him there was no discrimination particularly on the recruitment of Staff. On the Nazareth Center   project Fr Romeo noted that the center was currently in bad shape financially and there was no projects ongoing talk less of a project up to 50million. With inputs from Ngominang kingsly, Fr Romeo added that there was a project going on in the Piarist community house in Menteh not in the Nazareth center and “the project was handled by Brother Padro who is Spanish and contractor for the Piarist Fathers. Again he clarified that there was no project awarded to a Banso man.

Concluding the Rev Fr explained that they could not answer any question over the recruitment of staff for the St Francis of Assisi Catholic hospital Ntasen Nkwen since it is not within their area of jurisdiction.

From the submissions the DO Ayuk Takang promised to convene a meeting in his office to explain the situation to the protesting youths. 

Questions have however been raised on issues relating to the sale of land in Nkwen as clear link to love for money and laziness. 

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