Elites of the Lebialem Division from across the country converged on Buea recently to add their voices to that of President Paul Biya in appealing for a return to peace and normalcy in the division in particular and the entire English-speaking part of the country in general.
Lebialem Division in the South West Region is one of the worst hit localities in the ongoing crisis rocking the North West and South West Regions. The Division’s elite from across the country met in Buea to draft a plan of action aimed at proffering solutions to the crisis. The Minister Delegate in the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development in charge of Planning, Paul Tasong who chaired the closed-door meeting in Buea said they came up with a roadmap on how to diffuse the difficulties in their division.
He told the press after the meeting that they had agreed to be meeting regularly as a means of brainstorming on appropriate solutions. “We took stock of the state of our division, Lebialem, given the socio-political crisis rocking the North West and the South West Regions of our country. We identified key and specific issues related to our division. We then drafted a road map of action which we intend to implement. It will diffuse the difficulties faced by the region which is affecting the socio-political and economic development of our nation,” Minister Paul Tasong stated.
One of the main traditional rulers in the Lebialem come-together was the Paramount Fon of the Bamunbu clan, HRH Senator Lekunze Andreas Nembo. He said his palace is open to youths to talk love, peace and dialogue without negating their thoughts. He noted that other Fons will do same in their respective clans. He appealed on those in the bushes with arms to return home to their ancestral land so that together, they can build the division. “We are stretching an olive branch to those in the bushes to come back home so that we talk the problem and get rid of the social disorder,” Fon Lekunze appealed.
Acts of arson on people’s homes, schools, palaces were out rightly condemned. Many elite regretted the state of affairs in the educational milieu in Lebialem where the education of young Cameroonians has come to a standstill. Lebialem Division is largely deserted by citizens as the armed separatist continue to inflict terror on the population especially civil servants in the area. It should be recalled that the former SDO of the Division, Zachary Ugitoh was shot when his convoy was attacked by the terrorists. The attack led to the death of the Divisional Delegate of State Property and Land Tenure in addition to several soldiers killed. Even the convoy of South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai came under attack from the armed separatist when he went to commission the new SDO.
Violence has escalated in the two English-speaking Divisions despite President Paul Biya’s efforts in resolving the crisis. Lebialem was clamouring for a Ministerial position and President Paul Biya heeded to their call during the March 2 cabinet shakeup by appointing one of them into the government. It is hoped that the action plan for solution adopted by the elites will be a panacea and an example for other divisions to copy.