By Chris Mbunwe
PM Dion Ngute has thanked priests for praying for peace to return to war-ravaged Regions, but urged them to copy the spirit Christian Cardinal Tumi, who prayed and some of the boys in the bushes came out and dropped their arms.
He announced that the Bamenda-Bababjou road work will resume soon when rains shall be over. He said the World Bank project has been awarded to three big road construction companies to realise the job within the shortest time possible. Thanking the mammoth crowd that turned out at Commercial Avenue Bamenda to listen to him, he said, in addition to the road project from Babadjou to Bamenda and major streets, “… let me add the Bamenda Municipal Stadium where work stopped, but will resume. Before I visit Bamenda [again], all these projects must have been completed. Be assured.”
Population Must Defeat Fear
He told Bamenda population and Northwest in general that the road and stadium development projects cannot be achieved without peace.
He said ghost towns, killings and kidnappings for ransom must stop, and “it is you to conquer fear. Say ‘enough is enough’.”
The Regional Council President of the Northwest, Prof. Fru Angwafor, and Asheri Kilo of Basic Education drilled the population on what the region stands to benefit from their sectors. Several dance groups braved it to Commercial Avenue to welcome the PM.
Preaching Peace Against Separatist Fighters Gunshots
The first day of PM Dion Ngute’s working visit to the Northwest was almost marred by sporadic gunshots. At Matazem in Santa, gateway into the Northwest, Separatist fighters fired shots from nearby hills and the PM’s speech was disrupted as the Governor Lele and security officials scampered with him into his car and they drove off to the Governor’s Office and down Ayaba Hotel where he started consultative talks with Administrative officials, military, parliamentarians and press.
“I am here in pursuit of peace. I have not come to insult anyone. I am here as you’re aware to talk on the issue of National Major Dialogue held two years ago with greater achievements, so far, which some people have refused to see. Not everyone can be OK with these enormous achievements.
“President Paul Biya despatched me and my team to the two Regions to let us understand these benefits accruing from the Major National Dialogue, for example, the Anglophone Subsystem of Education, like someone told me, has achieved more than what they asked for. Same goes with the common law now integrated in ENAM, recruitment of young Anglophone lawyers in the ENAM training system.”
He said even the grievances relating to poor treatment and service delivery in public services has been addressed. The population, he said, will feel greater impact of the Regional Council, as it will be factored in next year’s National Budget. Other achievement relating to the Special Status, which he also enumerated included the recent appointment of Public Independent Conciliators for Northwest and Southwest; the House of Chiefs, the General Code on Regional and the Local Authorities has given powers to Regional Assemblies. They can remove the regional executive council from office by impeachment under certain conditions.
The Prime Minister appealed to the population: “ … with all these achievements, I am begging, let’s stop this senseless war, let’ stop killing ourselves, we have blocked development for long, great schools that we used to have here are gone, let’s us re-establish our dignity. The army you find around is for your protection,” the PM said.
Minister Felix Mbayu, who was the Rapporteur of the MND, explained what the Special Status is bringing and will continue to bring if peace is established.
“We can have everything in a day. We should stop manipulating our population with lies. Truth must not be slaughtered on the altar of lies .This is our Region, the development of this Region is on our shoulders. Let us continue to call on our brothers in bushes to lay down their arms and come over to Disarmament and Rehabilitation Centres. Government is doing a lot and will do more. I was born and bred at Old Town here,” Minister Mbayu appealed.
Others who spoke, including the Mayor to the Bamenda City Council, Paul Achobong, were all praises to the Prime Minister for coming to follow up resolutions of the MND and explain further for the understanding of all.
General Scatter, 13 Amba Fighters Drop Arms
At Bamenda Commercial Avenue on Wednesday, a man who called himself General Scatter and 13 other boys from the bushes of Nkor in Noni, Bui Division, were presented to the PM and population as having dropped their guns.