The demand for the local cooking ingredient palm old produced from palm nuts got to an all-time high level during the early hours of last Saturday. The ingredient witnessed the strange demand just shortly after midnight when information went viral that Lake Awing in Awing Village of Santa Subdivision in Mezam Division of the North West Region had exploded releasing a toxic substance whose antidote was only palm oil. The message made rounds via phone calls, SMS and all social media networks. 

“SOS The Lake Awing has exploded just like it happened in Lake Nyos. Please everybody should take red oil eat some and put some in their nostrils.. Save lives by forwarding this message to your friends and family members.” One of the messages read
“Good morning everyone urgent urgent urgent! An explosion has occurred in Lake Awing and there are toxins in the air, look for palm oil (red) apply on your nostrils and eat some immediately. Please circulate as fast as possible.” Another read
The response was spontaneous allover Bamenda and the North West. “I was sleeping when I heard a hard knock on the door, when I questioned it was a friend who asked if I had some palm oil at home that there was bad. He said Lake Awing had exploded and that everyone was asked to eat palm oil and robe some on the nostrils. I had heat my oil container from where we shared the oil. As were taking our share, my sister also came and we ate the oil.” Paul a palm oil consumer narrates
This went round really fast but when signs of it not being true started emerging with people in Awing denying any explosion, another message like many others quickly appeared with a new narrative. “Please it’s urgent! A gas substance has been thrown into Lake Awing now please everybody should take a tea spoon of read oil and rob some on your nose! Please save lives.”  One message read. This was accompanied by others informing villagers in Awing that their lake had been poisoned.
This according to other observers was a follow up to other messages that earlier circulated saying that there was going to be a chemical spray in Bamenda and should anyone smell something strange you should quickly ingest palm oil.
Travellers to Bamenda within the early hours of Saturday are reported to have stooped in Mbouda to buy and consume palm oil for fear of the famous Lake Awing substance.
At dawn, a picture emerged claiming Fon Fozo II of Awing had visited the lake in a bid to debunk the information. The untrue nature of the message was also carried by sources at the North West Governor’s officer saying that nothing had happened at the Lake.
A message from the President General of the Ndong Awing Cultural and Development Association NACDA rejected the Lake explosion with a releasing saying “His Royal Majesty Fozo II of Awing was at the lake early this morning 19th May 2018 and found the lake calm. He also talked to those living around the lake who denied having heard or witnessed any explosion in or around the lake last night.”
A personal message from the Public Relations and Communication Officer of the Awing Cultural and Development Association NACDA described Lake Awing as “the pride of a people. One of the touristic potentials of Cameroon said “I want to say all the information on social media is unfounded, irrelevant and don’t in any case resemble our country. The gods of Mbeuwing are neither at wrath nor seek appeasement. The enemy is always around the corner but Awing is at a high pedestal and since the crisis broke in the two English speaking regions, the good God has and continue to stand by us.”
Ernest Akufor described the information as an expensive joke which out not to tie with Awing a village a pacesetter community. “We should all be rest assured calm exist at the lake…. This gives opportunity for us to be more stronger and shame the devil. This lake is a source of water supply to the people of Bamenda and beyond. If there was toxin therein, I don’t think if could have been tapped and supplied for human consumption.”
The reasons for the speedy acceptance of the information by the population cannot however be doubted following the fact that the happenings of 1986 in Lake Nyos in Menchum Division still remain vivid in many minds in the North West during which close to 1800 people died and 3500 livestock in nearby towns and villages suffocated by a large cloud of Carbon dioxide CO2 emitted by the Lake as the result of an explosion. The little or no attention paid to the victims will surely not inspire anyone to want to take chances at the mention of any of such occurrence.
“Following recent developments and research, if it was to explode, then it won’t be cause by the accumulation of gases in the CVL as was the case with Lake Nyos back then. Lake Awing is a volcanic Lake yes but has been experiencing lots of colour changes due to rock activities in the lake and the region surrounding it has been experiencing lots of land and mudslides too.” A Geologist in training tells the Guardian Post.
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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