By Andrew Nsoseka
Criminal Law Specialist, and Barrister at Law, Evans Lohtabu, recently celebrated his birthday with Buea Central Prison inmates.
The Advocate said he chose to celebrate with the inmates to tell them that people care about them and that there is a place for them in society, whether guilty or innocent of the charges brought against them.
The high point of the celebration was a football match pitting convicted inmates against those awaiting trial.
In the end, the inmates awaiting trial over-powered those already convicted by two goals to nil.
At the end of the match, Etienne Nfor Ngwana aka Fat 24 won man of the match and goalkeeper of the match.
Though seemingly older than the rest of the players, Fat 24’s flexibility and agility at the goalpost caught the attention of spectators.
The two goals of the match were scored by Nelvin Kum Kum.
At the end, Barrister Lohtabu, his family and friends awarded prizes to the detainees.
They also donated food items, toiletries, balls, cash, and other items. While presenting the gifts, Barrister Lohtabu advised the inmates not to consider their time in prison as a burden. He said, “some of you are lucky being in prison, because some of your friends in the neighbourhoods are going to their early graves because of a new disease called stray bullet that is snuffing life out of people in the communities.”
He instructed that the cash prize of the match should be shared equally between the winners of the match and the losers, because it was not aimed at determining winners and losers, but rather to commune together.
Speaking to the press after the event, Lohtabu told journalists that he chose to celebrate his birthday in prison because “many people here are innocent. The notion we have is that those in prison are not supposed to exist, whereas it is contrary to my opinion. It is like any other place. If you want to know more about life, you need to visit the hospital, the prison, and the cemetery…”
He bemoaned the fact that the prison is overcrowded as it now hosts more than four times the number of inmates it was built for.
He said because of the crisis, many innocent people are suffering in the prisons, which need to be decongested, especially by solving the Anglophone Crisis that has sent many to prisons. “We are tormenting Cameroonians who need to be free like you and I. The Government needs to do something.”