Monday, April 7, 2014

Striking Mbororos Threaten to Seek Boko Haram Protection over Disputed Land with Catholic Church

 By FC Ndi
For close to two days now, the disgruntled Mbororos have taken up residence at the entrance to the Mankon Cathedral to express their grievances in a "sit down strike" to express what they say is an act of injustice on them as a minority group.  At the main entrance to the Mankon Cathedral,today April 6, 2014 this reporter was greeted by placards on which some of these angry statements were written in red “I want a home, Mamada Hills since 1905, I was born in Ndzah where can I go to now, Homeless in a Fatherland, We have been displaced by the Church, Stop violence against the Mbororo’s is it because we belong to the minority?, Jesus Christ does not discriminate” etc etc.
The story goes that on March 19, 2014, tempers escalidated when a hired caterpillar started bulldozing part of a piece of land estimated at about 60ha at Wumse-Ndzah, Bamenda III subdivision, North West region. Allegedly, a combined population of fuming Bambili youths and Mbororos got the hired workers well beaten to the point that many sustained injuries. The Mbororos say they would not accept the church to take over their land where their parents have been living since 1905. The confrontation was so violent that the car belonging to the Bamenda Archdiocese was destroyed. As the forces of law and order stepped in, the variable angry occupants of the piece of land in dispute stormed the Mankon Catholic bringing along their families to express their agony. It is even alleged that the graziers are threatening that if the administration cannot protect them from being expelled, they will seek protection from the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
However, a classified source linked to the Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua representative of the Catholic University of Cameroon, CATUC, hinted that the Mezam administration has been alerted on the looming threats. Besides, the hint also confirmed that the church was granted land concession for the construction of a FCFA 55 billion worth university complex after all the administrative procedures were undertaken.  Yet the question as to whether Jean Baptiste Baleoken the then Minister of State Property, Land and Surveys committed an administrative blunder in granting that piece of land to the church remains another mystery that can only be deciphered when all the parameters are considered as an atmosphere of uncertainty looms large in Bamenda reasons why ministerial decision No 0009447/K.6.1/MINDAF/D1/D13 of 2 September 2011 continue to spark controversies.
The most intriguing thing is that initially, the fon of Ndzah who wanted to add value to his land had allocated a total of 100 ha of land for the Catholic Church to construct its university yet no reasons have been given why the total surface has been reduced to 60ha. A school of thought holds that something fishy must have taken place or multiple interests groups would have entered the scene for diversified purposes. The question on every lip is whether some people somewhere never played a fast one on the church to grab 40ha for their own use.
However, classified source hinted that ten Mbororo families were compensated by the Church to the tune 20 million FCFA. It is also alleged that the amount was paid out to the beneficiaries after a state commission evaluated everything on the piece of land. The ten families were represented by Hamidu Sadu, Mallam Buba, Adu Dahirou, Isa Mallam Inosa, Mallam Njibou, Ibrahim Dahirou, Dahiru Abdou, Njago Mallam, Musa Mallam and Sali Mamadu. Sources say in 2011 when the compensation was being paid to beneficiaries two cows were slaughtered and there was serious feasting.
Yet talking to this reporter, Isa Mallam Inosa accepted that they received compensation in 2011 but the problem is that the piece of land that has been allocated for their resettlement is actually in dispute between Ndzah and Bambili. He argued it is when they discovered they were been sent to a conflict zone that they decided not to quit. Expressionists are wondering why the Ecumenical Service for Peace and Justice has been mute over the issue. Another school of thought holds that the crisis between the Mbororos and the Catholic Church is seemingly a hot potato with a lot of stakes and interests that stint. A suirve.                                     

                            When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

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