ECOWAS Highlights  USP Genocide ALERT in AMBAZONIA

By Fon Christoper Achobang

The ECOWAS Parliament, meeting on Wednesday 8 March 2022 in Monrovia Liberia, alerted members of the on-going genocide in the former British Southern Cameroons, aka Ambazonia. Honourable Dr Mohammed Sidie Tunis was addressing members at ECOWAS Fifth Legislative Parliamentary Seminar and the First Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament for the Year 2022.

Honourable Mohammed Sidie Tunis said he received the alert from United Support for Peace (USP) headed by the American humanitarian philanthropist Dr David Makongo. According to USP alert, since 2016, thousands of people have been killed in Ambazonia, with hundreds of thousands fleeing into exile, millions living in displacement, hundreds of villages burnt down, and hundreds of thousands of children missing many years of schooling.

In November 2016, lawyers and teachers took to the streets to protest the destructive influence of the French language in the delivery of justice in courts and learning in English speaking schools. These protests took a political twist when the Cameroon government failed to listen and address the grievances of these lawyers and teachers. Dialogue stalled when government banned teachers and lawyers syndicates, with many fleeing into exile.

Many Ambazonian political activists quickly started clamouring for the Federal State which was unilaterally dissolved by the Cameroun Republic through a 1972 Referendum. It should be recalled that Southern Cameroons used to be a self-governing entity under the Federation of Nigeria as a British Trusteeship Territory. In 1954, Southern Cameroonians left their seats in the Eastern House of Enugu to start their own parliament in Buea, where they enjoyed self government before independence on 1 October 1961. The Cameroun Republic earlier had her independence on 1 January 1960.

On the eve of independence, England refused to grant complete independence to the Cameroons. As such a plebiscite was organized in the former British Northern Cameroons and British Southern Cameroons to decide whether they wanted to attain independence by joining the Federation of Nigeria or the Cameroun Republic. England campaigned very hard for the Cameroonians in Taraba, Adamawa and Borno States of Nigeria to vote to join the Federation of Nigeria. British Southern Cameroons, for want of a better option, voted to have independence by joining the Cameroun Republic to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon on 1 October 1961.

British Southern Cameroons progressively lost all her promised rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution of Cameroon through a series of secret pacts and schemes designed to completely assimilate the English speaking population and obliterate any memories of her history, culture and heritage. By 1984, President Biya unilaterally dissolved even the United Republic of Cameroon, a sad successor of the Federal Republic of Cameroon, and returned to the original January 1960 Republic of Cameroun. This name is the name that part of the Cameroons is known and registered at the Secretariat of the United Nations, and it refers solely to the French speaking part of the Cameroons.

Not ready for peaceful separation, Cameroon military killed hundreds of unarmed men, women and children who were protesting with peace plants and olive branches on 22 September 2017. This hardened the resolve of Southern Cameroons cum Ambazonia to restore its independence on 1 October 2017. The military reacted by further killing hundreds of unarmed civilians. Ambazonians felt the battle lines had been drawn and had to defend their people and property by any means. Ambazonia Restoration Forces quickly mushroomed killing dozens of Cameroon military and paramilitary. Returning from a trip in Europe, President Paul Biya declared war on the tarmac of the Nsimalen international airport. A crisis that would have been resolved with dialogue, took a bloody twist with Cameroon Republic killing thousands of Ambazonians in a series of massacres, and burning down over 500 villages.

ECOWAS interest in the Cameroons arises from the fact that British Southern Cameroons once belonged to West Africa, which created ECOWAS. With the restoration of the independence of Ambazonia, she becomes a proud and useful member of ECOWAS.

In the words of Honourable Mohammed Mohammed Sidie Tunis, “An African Proverb says “It is only a foolish person who sleeps when his neighbor’s roof is on fire”. We hope that the rights of all would be respected and that the situation would be resolved amicably.”

The illustrious American - Southern Cameroonian cum Ambazonian born Dr David Makongo, says ECOWAS has at last engaged to tackle the ongoing five years long genocidal war in Ambazonia. The war is commonly referred to as the Anglophone crisis, because it is fought mainly region with the minority English speaking population of the Cameroons. This comes on the heels of previous engagements with ECOWAS via a conflict resolution. Similarly, calls for ECOWAS and AU to intervene in the Ambazonia versus Cameroun war had earlier been expressed by Prof Patrick Lumumba on his Twitter handle, and an open mail addressed to the ECOWAS Chairman, President Nana Akufo of Ghana by AGovC state department boss, Dr Larry Ayamba.

We expect Ambazonians of goodwill, on the frontline, to come together and collaborate to ensure that this new found advocate for an end to the genocide in Ambazonia works judiciously to have justice served to the aggrieved people of Ambazonia. This is a task that should be tackled, as soon as possible, in order to stop the destruction of property and lives, causing increasing number of school drop outs, refugees, Prisoners of Conscience and IDPs, as a result of the continuous arson attacks on Ambazonia villages and peoples therein by Cameroun genocidal forces.

It is never too late to right the wrongs of our society. Never before has Africa been cornered like in the present dispensation to start creating safe spaces for returnees from a fragile Europe.

The Right Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis has called for dialogue and mediation to end the war and prevent the crisis from spilling over to neighboring West African States. He mentioned this and humanitarian reasons as further justification for ECOWAS to try and step in to find a peaceful solution to this crisis. The rest of the world must applaud and join in this ECOWAS drive as the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, in Article 15 recognizes Ambazonian people's right to create a nation, name it, and even move to a new nation.