By Boris Esono (Buea-Cameroon)
The Mayor of Buea, Patrick Ekema Esunge, has told bike riders in his municipality that for him to effectively lift the ban on their activities; they must promise to resume work on Mondays, a day which is regarded as “ghost town” in the South West Region.
Speaking at the Buea Council Chambers, Mayor Ekema Patrick said resuming work on Monday is the only precondition for the lifting of the municipal embargo on bikers and their activities which has been on for more than a month now.
However, the Municipal authority’s precondition has been termed “a suicide mission” by bikers, considering the significance of ghost towns in the two Anglophone Regions.
Since the Anglophone Crisis took an ugly twist, all Mondays were decreed as ghost town days. On such days, everybody is expected to be indoors with all activities in the two Regions grounded.
The bikers said they cannot hid the Mayor’s pre-condition because most of them will either be killed, their bikes burnt or they may even be kidnapped by gunmen who have been enforcing the ghost towns.
“I can never respect the decision of the Mayor to work on Monday. The Mayor cannot protect me from the rage of the Ambazonia Fighters, who kill without mercy. They will not only burn my bike, but they will kill my entire family. So I think it’s a polite way the Mayor is using to refuse to grant our request. We have been dying of hunger and starvation for months now,” one of the bike riders, told The National Times News.
Another rider said: “If the Mayor is looking for a sacrificial lamb to end ghost town in Buea, it will definitely not be the bike riders. We are minority compared to taxi drivers. The Mayor cannot guarantee our safety because he will not be with us on the field. So I cannot attempt to defy the orders of the Ambas, who are more or less like spirits.
”It should be stressed here that the Mayor of Buea has adopted different strategies to eradicate the ghost town phenomenon, which he said, is killing the economy of his municipality and retarding its development.
The Mayor started by shutting down over 800 shops in his municipality to force business persons not to respect the ghost town phenomenon. He also bought 20 taxis to ply the streets on ghost town days. Despite his determination to end the ghost town plague, the phenomenon is still surging on.