The prime minister and head of government Dion Ngute has conveyed messages of peace from the head of state to the population of the North
West Region (NWR). This was during his maiden visit to the region.
When the prime minister reached Santa, in the North West region of the country, he began by extending an olive branch to the population indicating his reason of visiting the region. Later that day, he began holding consultative meetings with people of the grassroots. The prime minister explained that he is visiting the population of the NWR to sympathize with them and present to the the Head Of State’s message of peace and hope “I am here on the instruction of President Biya and the objective is to bring a message of hope and a message of peace from president Paul Biya to the population of the NWR. Everyone who has been following up events for the past two and half years knows that this region has suffered greatly from the insurrection that started with what has come to be known as amba boys. They took up arms, they started fighting the police, fighting security forces, destroying property, state property sometimes personal property and the government could not let this happen and so security forces came in, the military also intervened and they have been doing a great deal of work in other to bring peace to the area. However, the president after haven seen the suffering of this population has sent me to reassure the population that all he wants is peace. He doesn’t want this young people to continue to stay in the he bushes where they are loosing education, being a nuisance to themselves and the community. They have caused a lot of traditional leaders to leave their communities and this is not right. He has sent me to reassure them that they should leave the bushes, come to the centre that he has created, where they will be received, given free food and clothing so that they can go into a process of reintergrating them to normal life. He has told me to reassure them that if they want dialogue which will look at a number of issues, he is prepared to hold that dialogue. All he is looking for is people who can be representative enough to dialogue. That is what he is looking for and he is organising that and he has said that with the exception of separation or secession, every other topic can be discussed”.
The following day, Friday May 10th,
chief Dr. Dion Ngute held a meeting with the chairman of the SDF party, Ni John Fru Ndi and some of his party members. During this meeting, proposals were made on how to go about creating a comfortable room for dialogue with the SDF presenting very petinent points to the prime minister including and immediate seize fire and the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of war.
Later that day, the prime minister and his entourage paid a visit to the university of Bamenda, where they were warmly received by the vice chancellor of the university, Prof. Theresia Akenji Nkwo and her administrators. During this visit, the vice chancellor explained how the crisis had caused staff and students to leave the school due to the numerous kidnap cases and threats. After acknowledging the students determination to push ahead wirh their studies despite all odds, Dion Ngute reassured them that measures were being put in place to see into it that the crisis is brought to an end.
While leaving the university of Bamenda, for the residence of the chairman of the SDF party, the prime minister stopped at Nkwen, where he had a warm reception from the population who appreciated the moves he has taken to ensure that peace returns. The population equally highlighted the sufferings which they have encountered including coping with the deafening sounds of gunshot, kidnapping and the numerous deaths recorded. Chief Dr Dion Ngute then continued his visit to Ni John Fru Ndi’s compound where he received some home treatment while having a dinner reception before heading back to Ayaba hotel to further grant audiences.
On Saturday May 11, the Prime minister continued by granting audiences to different organizations including members of the press. During his meeting with the press, the issue of curfew was raised as a challenge to the smooth functioning of the media likewise the difficulty in having access to information. The minister after listening to these worries and more, promised to handle them accordingly. Some proposals were equally made by journalists on how the journey to peace could be attained which was much welcomed by the PM. The PM called on journalists to be more responsible in handling issues related with the crisis. He told the journalists that their words have influence on the public while reminding them that they were citizens of the country and should contribute to bringing peace to the region through their various medium of communication.
After granting audiences to other organizations, the PM and his entourage then moved to the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR)
commission where they met 35 youths (comprising 29 boys and 6 girls) who were currently registered in the DDR Centre. These youths under the DDR centre promised never to take up arms against the state. They however complained about both sexes sharing the same centre. They equally complained that they had been in the Centre for over five months but they were yet to receive news about their reintegration. The PM reassured them that the state was going to keep to their promise by providing them with jobs and reintergrating them into the society. He called on them to encourage their brothers and sisters in the bushes to drop down their weapons and join the DDR team. A token of five hundred thousand francs, food items and toiletries were then handed to the DDR centre. This gesture was much welcomed by the National coordinator of the DDR Committee, Fai Yengo Francis and the National coordinator Gabsa Nyagha Sixtus.
The PM’s entourage then left for the Mankon fon’s palace under the
rulership of fon Angwafor III. Here, the entourage equally had a warm reception and the need for a one an indivisible Cameroon was reiterated. The Head of State’s peace message was equally delivered. The PM and his team then left for Ayaba hotel. On their way, they made a brief stop at the Bamenda main market where he adressed the population. Later that evening the PM held a restitution meeting that concluded his working visit. He then left the NWR on Sunday May 12th, after being received at the residence of the government delegate to the Bamenda city council, Vincent Nji Ndumu.
The Prime minister and Head of Government, was accompanied by former prime minister Philemon Yang, the minister of territorial administration, Atanga Nji Paul, the minister of external relations, Felix Mbayu amongst other dignitaries.
By M. Sandrine