My Lords Temporal
I write in appreciation of your role and contribution to, in the face of all odds, maintain unity and peace among your people. I pray God to endow you with Solomonic wisdom, good health and a prosperous reign.
My last communication to you drew your high attention to affirmation by historians and constitutional experts of la Republique du Cameroun that there is no legal instrument binding British Southern Cameroons and la Republique du Cameroun as one nation under international law. This implies that what makes the distinction is not the fact that English is the official language in British Southern Cameroons while French is in la Republique du Cameroun but the 1916 and 1919 Anglo- French Agreements, 1939 Anglo-French Boundary Treaty and the separate Trusteeship Agreements of 1946. Working for peaceful coexistence the AU adopted the Constitutive Act, (Art. 4b) which states that colonial boundaries inherited at independence remain unchanged and permanent. La Republique du Cameroun is signatory to the AU Charter which by its Constitutive Act upholds the principle of international jurisprudence of uti possedetis juris and the critical date. La Republique du Cameroun gained independence from France on Jan. 1, 1960 as the successor state of French Cameroun and joined UN Membership in September of same year. In addition to the historical, cultural and legal differences, these international instruments make it an unarguable fact of law that in Africa there are two distinct Cameroons each entitled to national self- existence and sovereign independence.
This is what the SCNC has been preaching and defending and as rulers of what the UN calls the “first nations” amalgamated by colonial rule, you are better placed to understand, appreciate and defend this truth and fact of law. The SCNC has taken the annexation and colonial occupation and the cry of our people for freedom and independence to the United Nations, European Union, African Union, the Commonwealth and some nations. Both at home and abroad la Republique du Cameroun has lost all legal battles pursued and defended on behalf of British Southern Cameroons people. These land mark achievements you know, should know, give your blessings to and defend.
For the United Nations and international community to take us serious and come to our assistance and right the wrong of 1961 we must be united and speak with one voice.
It is in this light, Your Majesty that I salute and commend the South West Chiefs for the Resolutions adopted at their last conference. They were timely and have been hailed by all British Southern Cameroonians.
Equally to be appreciated is earlier positions adopted and transmitted to President Paul Biya by NWEFU in which they, in recognition and defense of the facts briefly stated above, called for dialogue to resolve the political conflict.
All these laudable moves by you, the Fathers of British Southern Cameroons nation only remind us of the unanimous role of your predecessor in 1953 and 1959. In 1953 their patriotic and nationalistic support for the declaration of Benevolent Neutrality in Nigerian politics which the UK Government as the Administering Authority recognized our legitimate and legal rights forced the British Government to approve Self-Government for British Southern Cameroons. And in recognition of your role and contribution to the building of British Southern Cameroons nation in 1957, the House of Chiefs was constitutionally created. Then in 1959 at the Mamfe plebiscite conference, the Natural Rulers, as custodians, through your spokesman Fon Achirimbi of Bafut, the Fathers of British Southern Cameroons nation, firmly supported secession from Nigeria and independence arguing that unification with French Cameroun was tantamount to entering “FIRE.” Has the prediction not come true?
When the third alternative was rejected and “independence by joining” was imposed, two Natural Rulers, Chief Stephen Nyenti and Chief Manga Williams, like P. M. Kale, formed political parties and campaigned against the holding of a plebiscite. Remaining consistent with the Mamfe position they favoured sovereign independence and Chief Nyenti’s party in a resolution declared that never shall a foreign flag be hoisted on Southern Cameroons soil.
Cognisant and proud of the significant role Natural Rulers individually and collectively played in a democratic and free British Southern Cameroons we look forward to the unity of the Fathers of our nation as it was in the good old days. Today British Southern Cameroons faces the very political challenges faced in 1959-1961, namely, that of CHOICE between FREEDOM and IDEPENDENCE or perpetual servitude under la Republique du Cameroun. La Republique du Cameroun plays the politics of divide and rule. Envious of your unifying role Yaoundé applies this policy to keep you, the Natural Rulers divided and weakened and through their PROCONSULS- Prefets, as the SWCC Resolution admit, make you irrelevant. This is to sustain annexation for the prestige and grandeur of la Republique and economic prosperity of France while your people endowed by God with abundant natural resources wallow in mass poverty, misery and lead short and brutish life.
SOME INJUSTICES WE HAVE SUFFERED AND ARE SUFFERING
- You the Natural Rulers have lost the highly venerated position of honour and influence you enjoyed and exercised within your people, British Southern Cameroons nation and government. You are simply known as auxiliary of imposed (French) administration and the Prefet is your boss. First class chiefs among you will tell you that what they receive is nothing compared with what their counterparts in la Republique receive.
- Royalty for petrol and timber from British Southern Cameroons is paid to Douala City Council and Sangmalima council respectively of la Republique du Cameroun. When the Mamfe Chiefs and their nobles protested the exploitation of timber, destruction of the environment without any benefits to the people, they were molested, abused and detained.
- Though the refinery – SONARA (French acronym) is built in Victoria, management and staffing is dominated by Francophone. Since creation no Southern Cameroonian has ever been a General Manager and the lingua franca there is French.
- British Southern Cameroons Government was abolished by Presidential Decree in 1972. This facilitated annexation and colonial rule. In a nation the government serves as father and defender of the people’s interest. We have no government. We are stateless, oppressed, nakedly exploited and treated like a conquered people.
- No political party in this country was launched under bloodshed but the SDF in Bamenda.
- British Southern Cameroons has been balkanized into two provinces and to move from one to the other you must traverse two provinces of la Republique du Cameroun. This is to facilitate assimilation. In its interest Yaoundé plays one against the other and promotes hostility between the two provinces through its paid agents.
- British Southern Cameroons has been subjected to two states of emergency and an economic blockade. Economic blockade is an instrument of war and no government ever does that to its people to whom it is accountable. But we have suffered all these.
- Ombe Technical College, pride of British Southern Cameroons opened same time with Yaba and Kaduna Polytechnics in Nigeria is now a shadow of its former self. Instead of improving the machines and equipment were carried away by the first Francophone principal.
- Mutengene, Police College opened by British Southern Cameroons Government in 1958 has been francophonised and is heavily dominated by Francophone staff and students.
- After 1972 anti-constitutional referendum, seaports, airports, PowerCam, Santa Coffee Estate and other financial and economic institutions established by British Southern Cameroons Government were all closed while CamBank and Produce Marketing Board with a huge stabilization fund were transferred to Yaoundé and Douala respectively. This political action was taken to make British Southern Cameroons economically subservient and entirely dependent on la Republique du Cameroun. There is no similar action that was ever taken in favour of Southern Cameroons.
- We had to fight to get Buea University. In 2005 though there was a general strike in all state universities, it was only in Buea that gruesome impunities by forces of occupation were inflicted on the unarmed students. The evidence is that we do not belong and our children have no bright future under la Republique du Cameroun because their nation has been made a footstool.
- In 2006 competitive exam result into the Faculty of Medicine, University of Buea was cancelled and under the pretext of regional balance la Republique du Cameroun candidates who failed or never wrote were imposed on the list. But regional balance has never been applied in favour of British Southern Cameroons candidates.
- HTTC Kumba and professional schools of the Bamenda University are flooded with Francophone teachers and students some who cannot communicate in good English. A Francophone on teaching practice entered the class in Bamenda and commanded the student, “Sweep the board!” The student responded, “I don’t have a broom, Sir.” Competitive exams for recruitment are either set in French or are deliberately poorly translated to deny British Southern Cameroons a fair chance.
- More than 95% of administrative, military, security, finance institution posts in Southern Cameroons are manned by Francophone thus making French the official language in offices.
- As a deliberate step to abolishing the Common Law jurisdiction and imposing the Napoleonic code, the courts in British Southern Cameroons are flooded with Francophone magistrates steeped in the Civil Law system. Bilingualism is euphemism for frenchification.
The SCNC is committed to peaceful separation and restoration of the statehood of British Southern Cameroons within its inherited colonial boundaries. There is no legal instrument that binds the two distinct Cameroons which like the two Congos and three Guineas in Africa; each is entitled to national self –existence and sovereign independence. To achieve peaceful separation the solution lies entirely in a common united front. As proven elsewhere it is now established that even modern weapons are no match to the will of a determined people fighting for their freedom against foreign domination and alien rule. Failure to unite now and act positively, we will inevitably be beckoning for genocide and mass graves which prayers will not solve. It is the urgency of finding a permanent solution to the existing unbearable problem that led His Eminence Cardinal Tumi to declare in an interview with Cameroon Journal, Douala, June 29, 2015, “Yes of course I believe in it.” (the Anglophone problem). “I am sure that if the English speaking part of Cameroon were independent, that area would have been far more developed than what we have today.” And he concluded by saying that if a referendum were conducted today Southern Cameroonians will vote to leave Cameroun.
As Fathers of our beloved nation, it should be recalled that we are a peace-loving and law abiding people. We have never known terrorism in our land. Peace-loving and law abiding people are intolerant of injustice and violence. Law abiding people know and defend their rights and dignity. It is in this light that I commend you for standing against the Islamist Boko Haram terrorists who are mercilessly slaughtering innocent people in the north of la Republique du Cameroun and in Nigeria. We should unite and pray that this evil should stay beyond our borders and that the perpetrators should either surrender or be crushed where they are. We are concerned for you are never safe if your neighbour’s house is on fire.
WHY THIS SOLEMN APPEAL
International law has declared annexation illegal and a threat to world peace and crime against humanity. The UN Charter and AU Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights recognise the inherent right of people under foreign domination and alien rule to fight for their freedom and independence.
The AU Charter makes it mandatory for sister African nations to support victims of foreign domination in their legitimate fight for independence. It is on the strength of these international instruments that we won the case against Nigeria in 2002 and the land mark ruling by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) Banjul in Communication 266/2003 in 2009. The AU Summit in its Assembly of Libya approved this ruling and called for Constructive Dialogue under the Good Offices of the Commission. But Yaoundé, as an imperial power guilty under international law, has flouted the ruling with impunity. No one will mourn the death of your beloved mother more than you the bereaved.
It is equally important I remind you that though we have been arrested, tortured, detained, some murdered in cold blood for standing up for a just cause, and many several times charged to court, Yaoundé has never won a case against British Southern Cameroonians. Our case is very clean, just, legitimate and firmly anchored on international law. What is required of us is a united front and in solidarity to restore our statehood. Yaoundé had no right, moral, legal, cultural or historical to, by decree of a foreign power; abolish the British Southern Cameroons Government in Buea in 1972. Neither the government of la Republique du Cameroun nor its citizens had a hand in the formation of that government. It was an imperial illegal act. And no one, but Southern Cameroonians, has the right and duty to restore it. By its restoration your dignity and highly venerated position destroyed by Yaoundé will be restored fully and your children will forever live in freedom, dignity, prosperity and happiness and in praise of your worthy achievement.
To end our slavery under la Republique du Cameroun peacefully, the solution lies in unity and speaking with one voice. We must not allow the enemy to, at will, continue to exploit our patience and play one against the other. British Southern Cameroons is one and indivisible.
We must unit for the change we most need, change that will lift us out of the abyss of annexation, prolonged colonial domination and foreign rule and mindless exploitation that keeps us in mass poverty in the midst of plenty.
Our nonviolent struggle is not to create a new nation; it is to restore a nation that exists in law. It is in this light that I urge you to revive your patriotic spirit and that the commemoration of the 54th anniversary of our confiscated independence, 1st October 2015 should be with new dynamism and resolve of all leaders and active forces to unite for the new dawn and permanent solution to our servitude.
Your son and faithful messenger of our people,
NFOR, NGALA NFOR
(National Chairman, SCNC)