Slim Charles: “Don’t matter who did what to who at this point. Fact is, we went to war and now there ain’t no goin’ back. I mean, shit, it’s what war is, you know? Once you in it, you in it. If it’s a lie, then we fight on that lie. But we gotta fight” (The Wire, Season 3 Episode 12 – “Misson Accomplished”, 09.12.2004).
He is not the first, nor the last, who wants to save the face of his government and show blind loyalty to his Head of State. Still, Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji is willing lie to save face. The Minister is willingly and without any effort claiming that the efforts made in Anglophone regions are not as bad as it seems. Not as dire and crisis as the reports have been told.
However, the Minister doesn’t come with facts, just mere numbers, which is contrary to all United Nations reports on the matter and also Multi-National NGOs. By all means, the I will drop it here and then come with reports. Showing, that it must have been made up from him. As there are things not adding up. Unless, he wants to show old numbers and not the freshest. In that regard make the picture more rosary, than what it really is.
“ According to the Minister, Cameroon currently has around 152,000 internally displaced persons in the North West and South West regions, and about 6,000 to 9,000 internally displaced persons in other regions of the country. To these needy people fleeing various abuses, the government allocated an envelope of 12.7 billion FCFA. “Faced with this dangerous traffic from certain partners or those working on behalf of separatist groups, the government now demands more transparency and more responsibility in their operations in the North-West and South-West regions,” he emphasized while being in charge of the Territorial Administration” (DevDiscource – ‘Cameroon has no humanitarian crisis, says Paul Atanga Nji’ 30.12.2019).
While he states this inferior number, which by all means is a lot of people. Towns upon towns with IDPs, whose has to flee their home. The ghost towns, the people fleeing armed forces and the army violating the regions right to exist. Therefore, it is insulting, that he tries to mask over the situation, instead of giving the real deal.
Like the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) reported a total of 668,000 IDPs by 31st December 2018 and new displacements during that year (2018) was alone 459,000. These numbers are much more significantly higher, than what the Minister said and shows the discrepancy here.
Also, OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) own North-West Flash Update from 20th December 2019 states this: “Between 9 and 15 December 2019, an estimated 5,475 people (782 households) were forced to flee their villages following a series of military operations and community clashes throughout the North West region. Military operations in the Momo, Mezam, Boyo, Ngo Ketunjia, Donga Mantung and Bui Divisions have led to the displacement of 2,775 people, while community clashes in the Boyo division has led 2,700 people to flee their homes. There are consistent reports of military burning houses and other civilian infrastructure in supposed retaliation for communities harbouring NSAGs” (OCHA, 20.12.2019).
However, those numbers are only the limited time frame of 9th to 15th December. Not even the hole year. Yes it is closer to the numbers of the Minister, but still not grasping the whole situation. As this is only one week of the whole year and not counting the time from when army and others violently entered the Anglophone region.
USAID states this December: “Since 2016, worsening insecurity in Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest regions had internally displaced nearly 680,000 people, as of November” (Cameroon: Food Assistance Fact Sheet – Updated December 17, 2019).
So, again the numbers of the Minister doesn’t add up and is closer to the numbers of IDMC, which is one year older. Therefore, the various numbers just shows what intent and whose losing the bargain. Surely, the citizens and the ones harmed are in the dire need of help. The whole region doesn’t need the state warfare, neither the fake special status. Neither, does it need the fraudulent dialogue, which is only a smoke-screen, while the state violates people rights, land and livelihood on a daily basis.
Than, we have the World Food Programme with their Emergency Dashboard of November 2019, which states that the Anglophone regions have 536,107 IDPs. Another big number, which the Minister clearly doesn’t verify. It is hard to know exact the numbers, as each of those numbers would represent a person, an individual who deserves a peaceful life and opportunities to live, without fear, without war and without conflict in general.
However, the reality is that Minister doesn’t care. His just trying to mask over a crisis, a self-inflicted crisis, by the army and by the government. Instead of fixing it and listening, they are trying to burn the two regions, the North-West and South-West to the ground and hoping no one cares.
Supposed Honourable Nji is lying. Lying out of his teeth. A disgraceful act, an despicable one, as he tries to deflect the damage his government does on a daily basis. That is the reality in the scheme of things. It is just a reminder, of what extent people do to live on a lie. Going to war on a lie and sticking to it. Peace.