Friday, October 12, 2018

Press Release: Ntumbaw Cultural and Development Association Throws Light on Ntumbaw-Njirong Land Dispute

 The Ntumbaw Cultural and Development Association-NTUCUDA has issued a Press Release aimed at throwing light on the Ntumbaw-Njirong Land Dispute. The Press Release signed by NTUCUDA National President Banlanjo Lawrence frowns at other Press releases issued by WICUDA, WACUDA, The Three Clan Heads of (Wi)Mbum and some Fons of Ndu Sub Division under the umbrella of North West Fons Union. In the three page Press Release, NTUCUDA urges that " That we are embarrassed by the various biased and contemptuous outings, and hereby notify the groups that crafted them that if they do not reconsider their approaches to the Ntumbaw-Njirong dispute, we shall explore the only option of asking Ntumbaw indigenes and elites the world over to henceforth withdraw from Wimbum groups of all kinds in protest"...
Here above is the Release in it's entity.



Having followed with interest the outings by WACUDA, WICUDA, the three Clan Heads of the   Wimbum Tribe    (on social media) and some Fons of Ndu Subdivision under the canopy of NOWEFU members, an enlarged    executive meeting of the Ntumbaw Cultural and Development Association(NTUCUDA) held online on Thursday, 4th October 2018. Top on   the agenda were the aforementioned outings.

The main conclusion was that the authors of all these declarations expressly or tacitly upheld Njirong ownership claims over Mbawrong, and accused Ntumbaw village of hostilities against Njirong. These being false, fallacious and misleading assertions, this Enlarged Executive Meeting resolved to enlighten the groupings named above   and the public at large on the long-standing Ntumbaw-Njirong land dispute by stating as follows:

1) That the declarations made by the aforementioned groups undermined the legal provisions on the settlement of land disputes in Cameroon, which give room for an aggrieved party to petition or appeal against a Land Commission decision. From a legal point of view, a decision is not enforceable when an appeal is introduced against it. Even in the absence of an appeal in land matters, the decision has to be republished twice at five-year intervals before being considered final. These conditions were not given their weight in documents written by the aforementioned groupings. The Appeal Ntumbaw submitted to the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization on the 07/03/2005 against the minutes of the Land Commission of 2004 rendered the latter’s resolutions non-binding, and occupancy rights in Mbaw remained subject to an eventual decision of the authorities. Consequently, the dispute was not conclusively settled as claimed or implied by the write-ups of WICUDA, WACUDA, the three Clan Heads and some Fons of Ndu Subdivision. Letters from MINADT (Ref. No 00001369/L/MINADT/SG/DOT of 6th May 2015 and No 00001881/L/MINADT/SG/DOT/CC/CEA1 of 11th April 2017) and that from MINAT (on January 2018 requesting for circumstantial situation on the matter) all point to the fact that the matter was still pending, and that the administrative procedure to determine the issue was in progress. Thus, clear or implied attribution of ownership rights to Njirong is a farfetched shortcut that disregards due procedure.

2) That by the time the Land Commission met in 2004, neither Ntumbaw nor Njirong had any documents to adduce in evidence. Ntumbaw appealed against the decision so as to seek out documents to prove its case, following which it painstakingly obtained them from the archives in Buea and Calabar (Nigeria). These documents date back to colonial times. We forwarded these documents to the Ministry in charge of Territorial Administration. Njirong was requested to submit its own documents to back its claims, but she did not honour the request because her only pretext was the 2004 Land Commission minutes. The logical result was the administrative decision to reinstate Ntumbaw on the land it had occupied for generations.

3) That on the basis of (1) and (2) above, the Administration, represented by the Divisional Officer of Ndu, on 18th May 2018, issued Order No 53 of 18th May 2018 Restoring the Rule of Law and Order in Ntumbaw and Njirong villages, whereby Ntumbaw farmers sent out of their farms in 2013 were to be reinstated into their farms on 31st July 2018. This Order was followed by an enlarged meeting convened by the SDO of Donga-Mantung Division on the 20th of June 2018. The Fon of Njirong, Nganjo Kennedy, was present and signed its minutes and resolutions, which specified the date of 31st July 2018 for the reinstatement of Ntumbaw farmers on their farms in Mbaw. The reinstatement date was later extended to 27th August 2018 to allow Njirong people harvest crops they had planted. Everyone, including the Administration, could not have imagined the Njirong Fon was a Hollywood actor pretending to collaborate but having a hidden agenda involving an instigation of his subjects and connivance with some Wimbum elites and Fons to flout the authority of the Administration.

4) That the associations and traditional rulers who wrote the aforementioned declarations failed to take cognizance of documents submitted by Ntumbaw to the Administration. Records earlier than 1964 show that Njirong was a quarter of Ntumbaw. For instance, a 1934 Intelligence Report drawn by F. W. Carpenter (Assistant District Officer) listed Njirong as a quarter under Ntumbaw. Fon Nganjo Kennedy’s father, simply referred to as NGANJO in the document, was the quarter head then, and was an envoy of the Ntumbaw Fon during the identification of the Ntumbaw-Sop-Ntem boundary by M. D. W. Jeffrey on 17th January 1942, when he stated, in confirmation of what was being said by the village heads of Sop and Ntem:  “That is correct. The Ntumbaw-Ntem boundary is the River NNO between its junction with the NKO (today Nkuuh River) and the MAIRIN”. An earlier report (02/05/1924) by E. G. Hawkesworth clearly stated “NSOB (today Sop) and NTUMBAW possess a certain amount of the plain adjoining BAMUM”. These documents dispel all doubts as to who owns the part of Mbaw plain occupied by Ntumbaw at the opening of the 1900s. It should be noted “MBAWRONG” is not mentioned in any of the documents, neither did the elder NGANJO (the present Njirong Fon’s father, predecessor and pioneer Fon of Njirong) claim boundaries with Sop and Ntem, nor owning land anywhere, although he was in direct contact with the colonial officer drawing the boundaries. Thus he was a subject of Ntumbaw, and represented the Fon of Ntumbaw in at least one instance of boundaries identification.

5) That we, Ntumbaw people, are law-abiding, and did not burn or loot any property of Njirong people as claimed by the declarations of the Clan Heads and some Fons of Ndu Subdivision. We believe they (the people of Njirong) deliberately burnt their palace and hid their artifacts (if all this happened) to counteract a case pending in court, in which they are charged with destroying the Ntumbaw Fon’s palace in Mbaw in January 2018 and carting away roofing sheets, Nwarong apparel and usual palace items (throne, for instance). Investigations revealed the roofing sheets in one Fai Ndzegamsi’s home, and these sheets and other items are in the keeping of the justice system as evidence. We believe that justice shall be dispensed in no distant future.

6) That we, Ntumbaw people, are peace-loving, and did not perpetrate hostilities on Njirong people. We are rather victims of several hostile acts of the Njirong people. Instances of the barbarism of Njirong people abound, but here, we mention only two of them two that occurred this year, the victim of one being a non-native of Donga-Mantung:
a. During investigations in prelude to the court case cited in (5) above, the Divisional Delegate of Housing and Urban Development led a commission to Mbaw on the 10/05/2018, at the request of the court, to evaluate the damage done to our palace there. The commission was taken hostage and, for two hours, molested by about   two hundred (200) Njirong youths armed with sticks, spears, cutlasses and guns. The Delegate’s report dated 14/05/2018 gives a horrendous account of how he was made to sit down, beaten and almost murdered. His driver, a Wimbum man, later intimated to him that he had overhead their assailants (Njirong people) saying their Fon, who is in the USA, had ordered that all commission members be killed. This incident does not speak well of Wimbum as a people.
b. On 27th August 2018, the Administration, represented by the Divisional Officer of Ndu and other commission members  went to reinstate Ntumbaw in Mbaw in implementation of Order No 53 of 18th May 2018 mentioned in point (3) above. The Njirong population came out and violently perturbed the exercise, threatening the DO and his entourage. They equally stoned the Ntumbaw people and the Administrative officials, wounding a law officer and several Ntumbaw people, as well as destroying about eight vehicles.
These hostilities, destruction of property and undermining of State authority so far exhibited by the Njirong people seem, in the eyes of the WICUDA, WACUDA, Clan Heads and some Fons of Ndu Subdivision, to be so normal and negligible that a blind eye should be given to them, thus giving Njirong village an “above-the-law” status. Ironically enough, the groupings cited above took it upon themselves to accuse Ntumbaw of hostilities.  

7) That we continue to believe that the Administration is the only credible judge to solve the matter and reinstate the over two thousand five hundred (2,500) Ntumbaw farmers deprived of their farms in 2013. After all, it was the previous administrators of Ndu Sub Division who gave Njirong the minutes of the 2004 Land Commission which it is now brandishing as a decision. As such, authors of any declarations contravene the Ndu DO’s Order No 53 of 18th May 2018 Restoring the Rule of Law and Order in Ntumbaw and Njirong villages should know that they setting up a parallel administration at their own risk.

8) That we are baffled by the use of declarations and communiqués by our Fons (who are the custodians of our tradition) as a means of resolving land dispute as opposed to libations. The newest traditional and cultural practice has left many a citizen of Ntumbaw and beyond wondering whether traditional rulers have suddenly become political parties, trade unionists or civil societies and pressure groups.

9) That we are embarrassed by the various biased and contemptuous outings, and hereby notify the groups that crafted them that if they do not reconsider their approaches to the Ntumbaw-Njirong dispute, we shall explore the only option of asking Ntumbaw indigenes and elites the world over to henceforth withdraw from Wimbum groups of all kinds in protest.

10) That the documents herein quoted, alongside other documents which could have been attached to this release, can be viewed and/or download at our website

                                       Done in Ntumbaw this 4th day of October 2018.

Mr. Banlanjo Laurence
                                                       (NTUCUDA NATIONAL PRESIDENT)

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