Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mayor Accuses DO of Resettling Nigerian Grazers and Incessant Quest for Money

By Fai Cassian Ndi
An atmosphere of stale familiarity now looms in Nwa Sub division, Donga Mantung Division of the North West Region between the mayor of that municipality and the Divisional Officer. The story goes that on May 22, 2014, the mayor of Nwa council, Dr. Ngomfe-Loma David Moloh while presenting his speech during the administrative accounts session said that the main impediment was the fact that he could only realize 35% of the revenue due to a parallel collection by the Nwa administration. Dr. Ngomfe-Loma David Moloh exploded that “the latter has not only reduced council collection; it has aggravated the poverty situation in this poverty stricken council areas where more than 90% of the population live below the poverty line”.
To substantiate this, Dr. Ngomfe-Loma David cited four cases. According to the mayor of Nwa, the Divisional Officer, Tumasang Walters Ngang “for consultative Talks is collecting 250.000 FCFA and three goats”, adding that “this money is of course collected from those who pay our local taxes such as market tolls and business licenses etc”, he emphasized. Dr. Ngomfe-Loma David Moloh further revealed in his speech that “the Divisional Officer has initiated a second Meet-the-People tour- the first of its kind in over fifty years of the existence of this subdivision. This tour mainly to Ardorates is ongoing. Although primarily to collect more money, cows and goats, the problem” according to the mayor” is he (D.O) is indirectly creating another village in an existing and gazette village”.
Harping on the methodology adopted in solving farmer/grazer problems, Dr. Ngomfe-Loma David decried that the Divisional Officer “has set up a one-man-Sub-Agro-Pastoral Commission headed by (him)-self. He disclosed that “farmlands are systematically seized from bare-footed farmers in exchange for cows”. The mayor cited the pathetic case where a piece of farmland belonging to an epileptic woman in Kih, Mbem village was seized and handed to a grazer. “On trying to protest, she was arbitrarily arrested and detained. What released her from detention” Ngomfe said “was her illness” given that “she went into status epilepticus (continuous fitting) and was subsequently released by a sympathetic Gendarme officer”. In addition, Dr. Ngomfe reiterated that the Divisional Officer “has redistributed Communal Trans-humance areas to particular individuals” citing the case in Sih village where allegedly “he is collecting trans-humance taxes and secretly resettling some Nigerian grazers in Faam village and in the Mbaw plain.
The mayor also accuses the Divisional officer again on what he called “Sub-land Commission. According to the mayor, “here again we have a one-man commission headed by him where he is collecting as much as 250.000 FCFA from each disgruntled factions as logistics” In order to validate this one-man show commission the mayor added that “ he (D.O) has resorted to unscientific and unorthodox means of settling land disputes by ‘juju’ swearing. This has been done in the Ngu-Nguri land dispute. Those of Ngum-Ngumkwo, Gom-Koffa, Rom-Nkot and a host of others are to follow suit”.
In his conclusion, the mayor of Nwa outlined that “the Senior Divisional Officer, the population of Nwa subdivision is bitterly disappointed and deeply frustrated with the activities of the Divisional Officer for Nwa subdivision. Through me, the population of Nwa is pleading with you to intervene in order to avoid the huge consequences that may result from the activities of the Divisional Officer and in particular his incessant quest for money”.
Matters Arising
Tongues are still waging in Nwa ever since Dr. Ngomfe-Loma David Moloh made that open declaration. Public opinion in Nwa holds that the open declaration has ignited a cold war between the mayor and the Divisional Officer. Yet when contacted by this reporter to clear the air on the allegations, the Divisional Officer for Nwa, Tumasang Walters said he could not comment on grounds that he who alleges must proof. Nevertheless in a chat with this reporter Dr. Ngomfe-Loma David confirmed that last Monday, the DO was in one of the villages where he reportedly used the same ‘juju’ to settle land dispute between two villages. He also told us that after the administrative accounts session, the Divisional Officer also took a decision to suppress all the council gates in the municipality, “why only now”, he questioned.
When we arrived the Nguri palace, the fon was not at hand to confirm or refute allegations on the settlement of land disputes by swearing and or whether he contributed the alleged amount or less.
On the resettlement of Nigerian grazers, a classified source hinted this reporter that the Divisional Officer acting on instruction from MINATD recently made a census of the Nigerian grazers. According to what we gathered only two were identified to have taken permanent residence while others have cattle in the municipality with their relatives but are not resident in the Subdivision. Fears abound that with the threats of Boko Haram, the need to control the movement of grazers in the border subdivision is imperative. However, in our quest for uncover the truth we could not get the grazer in question by the time we got to his home. Reportedly he was in Nkambe for other issues.
A classified source at the sub delegation of agriculture told us that they have not been going to the field on farmer/grazer conflict. “We hardly go to the field given that all farmer/grazer problems are handled at the level of the administration”. A farmer in Nton told us that their crops were destroyed by cows and when they complained in a group it was impossible for some farmers to raise money. “Farmers are not at ease, it is difficult for a farmer to acquire farmland whereas it is easy for grazers”. Yet when we got to the DO’s office, we spotted two agric technicians who were going to the field to assess the damages caused by cows. Apparently, it was the chief of agric post for Mfe who was leading the team of evaluators.
More so, the situation is becoming very critical as some traditional rulers have taken advantage of the disorder to allocate farmlands to grazers. The case of Mbong and Bomgom abound high. According to what we gathered the fon of Mbon recently allocated grazing land to a grazer in Bomgom quarter without consulting the immediate sub chief of that area. This obnoxious practice is putting to question the use of the technical services. Apparently, the issue is another hot potato.  
(To be continued)

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