By Njodzeka Danhatu
Close to 500 internally displaced persons, IDPs, in Buea were invited to collect aid at the Buea Municipal Council and they ended up angry with Council authorities.
The IDPs complained that they were forced to queue under the hot sun for almost a day.
They bemoaned what they went through on that Tuesday, May 7, on the Council premises as they waited to receive soap, toilet tissue, and half bag rice as government humanitarian assistance.
However, some surfaced at the Council and had to go through registration procedures. They castigated the authorities as they refused to give aid to unregistered IDPs.
According to some of the IDPs, they were living comfortable lives but the Anglophone Crisis, which they generally blame the Government for, has reduced them to beggars. Some aging men and women cursed the distributors for yelling at them like children.
The Mayor of Buea, Patrick Ekema, in his speech, said their policy was to reach out everyone. But his subordinates were instead in sharp contrast as they refused student IDPs to benefit from the Head of State’s largesse.
Some of the IDPs equally lambasted the mayor for making the distribution a merry-making ceremony. Some of them said the Mayor invited dance group and instead dished out money to dancers (non-IDPs), which could have helped in sustaining a few IDPs. The dancers were even compelled to dance.
“You did not come here to look at IDPs, so animate now” the MC ordered.
Mayor Ekema, while carrying out the symbolic handing over of gifts, praised Minister Atanga Nji and President Paul Biya, for timely reaching out to the IDPs since it is the rainy season. Handing over food, he gave conditions: “Take this food, eat and have the strength to call your children from bushes.”
IDPs Demand Justice, Narrate Ordeals
Some IDPs demanded justice for atrocities committed on them while recounting the horrible conditions they are going through in Buea.
Some of them said they are living in tiny sharks in their numbers; with no finances, no food, where to sleep and healthcare facilities.
They said before the crisis came, they were living safely and providing for their families. They lamented that, now, they cannot send their children to schools, their villages have been burnt down, they don’t even know where some of their family members are (whether alive or not) since the Anglophone Crisis started in 2016.
An ageing woman, from Kembong in Manyu Division said: “When we were living in our homes, we were doing our businesses very well until the military raided our village. Now, we are 13 of us living in one room in Buea and cannot feed well.”
An IDP student from Mamfe said: “We are 14 of us living in one room, we don’t eat well as compared to before. Now, our food is only bread. The Government has the key and the lock. But the Government is too reluctant to solve the crisis.”
A mother from Etam, Kupe Muanenguba said: “When the crisis started, they came and arrested our children and ferried to Buea. While in Buea, the military detained my child. We want peace, we want our homes, these gifts are nothing. We need our homes to stay and not these. When I was living in my village and working on my farm, I had everything, now, I am suffering.”
An ailing man from Ekondo Titi remarked: “I left my village, not because I was happy to leave. Too much shooting compelled me to. I am here with eight children. I don’t have something to eat, any place to stay with my children. My children are not going to school. The President has given us gifts, but what I want to tell him is that he has the means to end this matter so that we can go back to our various places and stay.” A retired Finance Officer revealed: “I have in my house three IPDs. We are only depending on my pension. These things are just stipend. We are not demanding much, apart from justice and peace in this nation. Let the President do something, we want peace and justice.”