By Boris Esono (Cameroon)
Cameroon’s main opposition National chairman Ni John Fru Ndi has called on the Head of State to engage in a frank dialogue which according to him is not a sign of weakness but an opportunity for them to start over and work together towards a truly united Cameroon. He has also called on President Biya to stretch the olive branch for reconciliation.
According to him, Nigeria has been able to dialogue to heal the wounds of the civil war by forgiving Ojukwu and resettling him. He said: “You yourself have been able to forgive Bello Bouba Maigari, Issa Tchiroma, Daïkolé Daïssala among others for the abortive coup that almost killed you. Today, all these people are ministers in your government. So much eloquent evidence that you are capable of clemency and forgiveness! Can you, in this vein, release all those who have been arrested since the beginning of this crisis to facilitate the process of dialogue and true reconciliation? You have negotiated with Boko Haram for the release of the hostages. You are also in the process of rehabilitation and reintegration of people known as Boko Haram repentant”.
The SDF Chairman added: “Every day that passes, an innocent Cameroonian dies, a woman loses her husband, people abandon their business, farmers cannot plant or harvest since all their tools have been seized and the villagers are on the run. Such a situation foreshadows a future of hunger, malnutrition, undernourishment and despair. Our refusal to face the realities of our country and the facts of history cost us enormous economic losses, social and especially in human lives. The line of fracture is becoming more and more marked, and as you well know, the rise of hate speech brings us closer and closer to a civil war”.
“…. The fact that this crisis is only getting worse should have made you understand that the chosen course of action does not bear the expected fruits and that we urgently need to change our strategy. Many resources that should have been used for better purposes have been absorbed by the military action and we realize that we are far from the account”.
To Ni John, the dead of any Cameroonian whether civilian or the military is a lost to the nation. “I condemn all forms of killings perpetrated by both the armed forces and the sons of this country who have been pushed into this unfortunate situation. Your declaration of war against your people, which is being murdered in cold blood by the carelessness and lack of professionalism of the police forces, is now considered as an occupying force”.
“Similarly, the assassination of law enforcement personnel who have not been properly trained in counter-insurgency techniques not only betrays the fragility of our country, but also leaves their families full of bitterness. The military response to this crisis from beginning to end has only worsened an already untenable situation”.
For the past two years, people in the two English speaking regions have been living in anguish with the situation deteriorating recently. Villages are constantly ransacked, businesses looted, huge sums of money extorted, and their means of livelihood; houses are razed without regard for human life and dignity; women are raped, young people are targeted, and the granaries with the fruit of the hard work of the farmers are reduced to ashes.
“Some politicians took advantage of this chaotic situation to organize the witch hunt, arresting members of other political parties to be severely punished on the basis of false accusations. With all the upheaval and carnage being fought in this part of our country, more and more young people in the North West and Southwest have become radicalized because of the injustices they suffer. Cameroonians take refuge in neighboring Nigeria because they are not safe in their own country. Across the country, we all live in fear and insecurity” Ni John added.
The National chair ended by saying he is always ready to discuss with the Head of State-though so far there has not been any feedback yet. “Once again, I put myself at your disposal and extend to you my fraternal hand in the best interest of our dear country”.
“I imagine that the first safety reports prepared by some of your agents and administrators may have been misleading to you, which may explain why you have not scheduled a meeting so far. I must, however, draw your attention to the fact that such reports are made in pure bad faith to camouflage agents who are rather busy accumulating fortunes for themselves and to justify their misunderstanding of the situation and to mask their gross inability to handle this crisis”.