BUEA MAYOR TAKES BOLD STEP AGAINST THE DETENTION OF BUEA UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
By Evelyn Mojoko Singeh in Buea for Fako UK/Fako News Centre
30 November 2016
One of the resolutions contained in a memorandum presented to the Governor of the South West Region, Benard Okalia Bilia, on Wednesday November 30, 2016, is a request for students of the University of Buea arrested during the Monday November 28, 2016, demonstration to be released.
The Mayor of the Buea Municipality, Patrick Ekema Esunge, his Deputies and Councillors accompanied by a tiny fraction of the Buea population matched to the governor’s office to hand the memorandum after a meeting he convened at the Independence Square a.k.a. Bongo’s Square, Buea.
This move has raised hopes for parents whose children were arrested on November 28, when they went on peaceful demonstration on campus requesting that deserving students who had not received their Presidential Excellent Awards be given, that the penalty fee charged students for not registering their courses online on time be waved and also that the fees charged students before they can view their results online be removed.
The students ended up in a fearful confrontation with armed uniformed men who got some of them severely beaten, raped, arrested and detained. Videos have circulated online showing uniformed men storming students’ neighbourhoods like hell fire to molest some of them who were not even aware of what had happened at the university campus. Some students were humiliated in public when the officers asked them to lie down in mud and then were flogged. Videos on the internet show proof of what happened and nobody can deny the fact that these were some of the worst moments in Cameroon’s history to say the least.
The Secretary of the South West office of the National Commission for Human Rights and Freedoms in Buea, Christopher Tambe Tiku, has lambasted the actions perpetuated by security forces against the students on interviews broadcast by various local media. When contacted by Fako News Centre, he explained the fundamental human rights of the common man in Cameroon are at stake. He added that if the uniformed men could bully him when he visited their office to follow up the arrest of the students, then what of the students.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea, Nalova Lyonga, was heard on a local radio stating that the arrested students would be released. She also signed a notice to students this November 30, 2016, informing her students that the online registration portal has been re-opened to enable students to complete their fees and registration at no charge. Contrary to information circulating that she had not reacted to the students on time regarding the payments of the Presidential Excellence Award, a notice dated November 25, 2016, days to the students’ demonstration, informing students who were admitted in 2014/2015 academic year, that is Level 400 students and who were omitted from the award that the Vice-Chancellor re-submitted their names to the Ministry of Higher Education on Friday October 21, 2016, and that the authorities in Yaounde had agreed to give them the award. Consequently, she used the notice to advise students to be patient while the ministry prepared the payments.
Tensions have mounted in some major towns in the English speaking parts of Cameroon since Lawyers and Teachers of the English speaking subsystem in Cameroon announced an indefinite strike action to protest against marginalisation of Anglophones and deliberate attempts by Francophones to destroy the Common Law justice and the educational systems unique to the Anglophone regions in Cameroon.