Councilors of the Bamenda III Sub divisional Council have warned the administration of Mezam of an impending inter-tribal conflict in Bamenda.

Bamenda III Council

The councilors who spoke angrily in turns during a recent council session expressed discontent over the disrespect of administrative injunctions by villages in neigbouring municipalities thus affecting the administrative boundaries of Bamenda III. The case in point the councilors raised was the boundary between Nkwen and Bamendakwe villages in Bamenda I and Bamenda III sub divisions respectively. The area which has of late constituted a standoff between the Nkwen people and the Bamenda City Council is located along the second entrance way into Bamenda town from up station fondly referred to as new road. 


The issue took over debates at the council session when the Second Assistant Senior Divisional Officer for Mezam who attended the municipal assemble on behalf of the SDO tried responded to several worries raised by the municipal legislators on the said land and boundary. Ambamba Yakubo while appealing for Nkwen and Bamendakwe people to be patient and have confidence on the state on the matter told the councilors that files on the matter were before the administration of Mezam with a proper solution which will be fair for everyone being sorted. According to the administrator, “injunction does not mean the administration is taking land. It is to avoid violent conflict. Every party must respect an injunction order. The administration is neutral and impartial. The administration is not to separate people. The administration cannot take a decision that will separate people.” 
 
Bamenda III Council
This explanation however seemed not to have gone down well with the Deputy Mayor for Bamenda III Koti Joseph who was quick to tell the administrator that “we are respecters of the law and definitely should not be taken for granted. Where there is an injunction order Bamenda III respects it to the later.” He went on to urge the administration to use the law and sanction those who disrespect the injunction order. The SDO however replied stating that it was the judiciary that is responsible for issuing sanctions to those who violet the order. He further recommended that councilors should value the need for peaceful co-existence. 

Senior Barrister-at-Law Abenego Nfon challenged the Assistant SDO’s submission noting that to have people who violet an injunction order punished for their crimes; a compliant must be filed to the State Counsel by the SDO/DO for action to be taken. He thus called on the administration to as a matter of extreme urgency write to the State Counsel for action to be taken immediately.
Councilor Kaba Charles who is Bamenda III Councilor on the disputed area who called himself a victim of circumstances gave the subject a different twist when he told the session that he has been taken severally to provide answers on the matter before the administration of late something that has not happened since 2007 when he became councilor. While warning of an impending intertribal conflict that can ensue from the dispute, the Councilor regretted how the Bamenda City Council could proceed to issue building permit in such an area in dispute. He cited the gathering of electoral data from the area for Bamenda III, the issuance of long time land certificates to some Nkwen sons in the area and the then Cooperative which was in Nkwen and questioned why suddenly the area can automatically start bearing Bamendakwi names like Bangshie. The councilor was also vexed by the fact that several administrators who have worked in Mezam have given very little attention to the matter which is degenerating by the day worst with the complicity of some bigwigs in town. 

On the building permit, the Secretary General to the Bamenda City Council noted that they were issued based on the information on the application however adding that since the start of the crisis, the issuance of the building permits have been suspended. 

Councilor Forche Robert was also quick to sneak in another land dispute issue this time between Nkwen and Bafut in Njibujang which also under dispute with an injunction order. According to Councilor Robert the Bafut community is currently exploiting the land and by every standard should be sanction. The Assistant stayed mute on this after calling on the concerned parties to be calm and patient as the administration examines the matter. 
The disrespect of the municipal order prohibiting the destruction of marshy land with raffia bushes also came on focus with the Fon of Nkwen who took part in the session regretting that he cannot longer re-enforce the decision because many people now drag traditional institutions to court over attempts to protect such lands and property. Councilor Toh Sylvester on his part blamed the disrespect of traditional authorities on land matters on the 1974 land law which gives individuals the right to land ownership. 

While Councilor Forche Robert questioned the position of the administration in the face of such disrespect for constituted traditional authorities, Hon Fobi Nchinda Simon who attended the session regretted the throwing out of a private member bill by his parliamentary group intended to protect wet lands but promised to talk to the Minister of Environment and Nature protection to make sure the bill comes from government since it remains very important.
It is not the first time land matters are taking center stage in the council session or protest organized but finding a lasting solution to the matter still seems to be a distance away.
Derick BAKAH

Derick BAKAH

Bakah Derick is a Broadcast Presenter and Multimedia specialist with focus on sharing with the rest of the world the daily happenings in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. You can contact us on +237 675460750 or debakah2004@gmail.com.

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