Home » Njock indigenes protest annexation of village by Missaka’s Chief Daniel Dipoko

Njock indigenes protest annexation of village by Missaka’s Chief Daniel Dipoko

by Atlantic Chronicles
  • Accuse Missaka Chief Of Crossing 3 Villages To Claim Land In Njock
  • Administration Accused Of Backing Missaka Chief To Brutalise Villagers, Sell Farms, Plots
  • Tiko DO Promises To Visit Village, Hold Talks

By Andrew Nsoseka

A delegation of natives and villagers of Njock village, also known as Njock Bassa, which has historically operated under Mondoni village, stormed the office of the Divisional Officer, DO, of Tiko to demand that the administration stops Chief Daniel Dipoko of Missaka from annexing their village and selling the farms which they inherited from their forefathers.

The villagers say Chief Daniel Dipoko has declared Njock, located after three other villages from his Missaka village, as his “personal property,” and is randomly selling farms and plots owned by families.

The delegation representing the village of Njock, led by their chosen leader, Ezekiel Effia, stormed the DO’s office chanting, “Chief Daniel Dipoko of Missaka, leave us alone”. The population, led by its designated leaders, were received by the Assistant DO, who talked with the leaders, and then briefed the DO, who came out and addressed the protesting population.

After calming down the protesters, the DO said he has been briefed on their grievances and that, to permanently put the issue to rest, he will plan a speedy visit to Njock village, where there will be talks with the villages, since another group (said to be impostors hired from the CDC plantations by Chief Daniel Dipoko) had earlier come to the DO’s office to side with the said Chief. The protesters said, on the day of the visit, the said persons should be presented alongside their residence or links with Njock village.

The DO said he will study the memo submitted by the villagers, and submit it to his immediate hierarchy, the Fako SDO, for action to be taken. “I am coming to Njock. I will officially notify you people the day I am coming so that, together, we will all talk and understand what the problem is,” he said.

Verbal attempts by the DO to refer to Njock as a Quarter under Missaka were hushed down by the population, who said there is nothing as such, and that they have existed independently as a village under Mondoni, and have never had a business with Missaka.

In a document titled, “Territorial declaration of the community of Njock Bassa (Mondoni) village, written by elders, kingmakers and elites of Njock, to the DO of Tiko in 2023, they say, the heritage and history of Njock Bassa (Mondoni) historically in many past administrative correspondences, have been misrepresented by their fellow brothers in Missaka village.

“The allowance for such a misrepresentation has been as a result of the free willingness of the Njock community to enter into a business and economic partnership with the late Chief Mbella Sonne Dipoko under the umbrella of the business entity, ‘Missaka Holding PLC’, which obtained a Presidential concession of 3,000 hectares of national land as stipulated in the Presidential Decree No. 2002/323 of 19 December 2002, which was to last for 5 years, bounded in the north by the River Mongo, the South by the CDC and Tiko- Douala highway, the east by the River Mongo and the west by Mondoni village and road. This presidential concession allowed Chief Mbella Sonne Dipoko to act as a broker to negotiate with indigenes and landowners of various villages such as Njock, Njopongo, Small Moquo, Big Moquo, Muanda I, Muanda II, and Lobolobo for their lands to make up the 3,000 hectares required by Del Monte Cameroon Sarl to establish a banana plantation. These villages that contributed lands to be used for this project became shareholders and board representatives in Missaka Holding PLC with the intent of benefiting from proceeds of the lease of their lands pertaining to property held in TRUST. The life of the holding company is 99 years with effect from the date of its constitution which was the 7th June 2001.

“Our people were excited with the whole idea of the project and were committed to see its realization, not knowing the hidden reason behind this concession. Upon giving our consent, Chief Mbella Sonne Dipoko went on making deals with Del Monte Cameroon Sarl without concluding his negotiation with our representatives. His attention was called upon a few times by our legal representative ‘Nkammi Law Chambers’ to avoid further misunderstanding and suspicion relative to the project as a whole. Chief Mbella Sonne Dipoko replied to our concerns which he described as being ‘legitimate’”.

In the letter, the elders, king makers and elites say the idea of the said concession also permitted Chief Mbella Sonne Dipoko to lay more emphasis on referring to Missaka as a ‘Chiefdom’ instead of a ‘village’. “We believe now that he was taking advantage of our ignorance in the anthropological meaning of the word ‘chiefdom’ which is ‘ a notional form of socio-political organisation in which political and economic power is exercised by a single person (or a group of persons) over many communities. Historically until today Missaka has never been referred to as a Chiefdom rather than a village,” he revealed.

The writers of the letter also stated that the concern of demarcating entire villages for the sake of this concession was raised by Fih Law Firm, who called it ‘the hidden agenda behind the demarcation of Missaka chiefdom’.

This was when the commission of inquiry was formed and held a meeting on the 16th April 2002 to make findings on land dispute between Chief Mbella Sonne Dipoko and the Mondoni population.

They also stated that from time immemorial, Njock has always been referred to officially and administratively as Njock Bassa (Mondoni).

On the claim that Missaka ceded land to Njock, the writers said the “map of 1950 clearly shows that it was impossible for Missaka village, referred to by then as ‘Musaka’, to have ceded land for the people of Njock for resettlement as Missaka village, is three villages away from Njock Bassa (Mondoni) village.

They revealed that, in the ‘Proces Verbal D’Enquete’ submitted by the president of the commission of inquiry on the 16th of April 2002 to make findings on the land dispute between Chief Mbella Sonne Dipoko and the Mondoni population to the Southwest Governor, the president clearly noted that the land actually occupied by the Njock people was ceded by the ancestral Chief of Mondoni village.


Ezekiel Effia, chosen leader of Njock village, speaking after protest

They furthered that, “As a result of the various unorthodox red tapes encountered by Del Monte Cameroon Sarl in the process, the means to acquire this concession of 3,000 hectares of land space became excessively expensive before the project even begun and as a result the management of Del Monte Cameroon Sarl pulled the plug on the project. So, the project ended prematurely.

“Before and upon the death of Chief Mbella Sonne Dipoko the Del Monte Cameroon Sarl project was paralyzed and its engagements and objectives became too unclear for our people and its shutdown led to the birth of Boh Plantation, which is currently established in Missaka and Njopongo village, respectively, under Missaka Holding PLC and using the same Presidential Decree without the 3,000 hectares in place. Our community is not receiving any dividends currently from Missaka Holding PLC as there is no agreement between the entity and the Njock community for Boh Plantation to use our lands.

“The actual motive of the concession, as we see it, which was to install the banana plantation project using the presidential concession and hold unto the annexation of other villages around, got revealed on the 26th July 2020 when Chief Daniel Makunde Dipoko created the civil society of Missaka village with the intention to reclassify the villages involved in the presidential concession under Missaka Holding.

“We, the Elders, Kingmakers, Elites, are categorically stating here that we were and are territorially an integral part of Mondoni village and are seeking to rehabilitate our village with the complete Royal Patronage of Mondoni village as backed by our history. We hope this revelation of unknown facts has thrown more light to our situation as a people in Fako division, South West Region of Cameroon,” they wrote.

Speaking to The Post, the designated leader of Njock, Ezekiel Effia, said he is representing the 11 families that make up Njock village. He said their village has existed for more than 100 years.

He said what brought them to the DO’s village is the encroachment by Chief Daniel Dipoko on their land. He said the Chief has been bragging that he has the backing of the administration, and, as such, they came to the DO’s office to protest and find out whether Cameroon is ruled by laws or by those who can hire thugs to molest and bully the people. He said, as law-abiding citizens, they have always followed lawful paths, like the process to rehabilitate their village. He said after the failed deal with Chief Dipoko, the Njock people have decided to take back their land and put it to good use. “We the Njock people, we say since you did not use our land, and we did not benefit anything, we want to take back our land, to rehabilitate it, and put our chief,” Ezekiel Effia said, regretting that instead of respecting their wishes and the law, Chief Daniel Dipoko has hired thugs from other villages to bully villagers and seize their properties.

Other community members like Aurelien Tsanga, Tonye Mahi Jean, Jehu Lizack, and the head of the Yede Family, retired Prof. Johannes Biyaga Yede lamented that Chief Daniel has made life hellish for them. Prof. Biyaga lamented that his family is now in factions because Chief Daniel Dipoko has turned one of their sons against them, thus tearing the family apart.

The fight against Chief Daniel Dipoko’s annexation of neighbouring villages is not a new one. Previously, the village of Njopongo took on the Chief who also tried to take over the village and its lands, under the claim that it is a village under Missaka. The people of Njopongo also fought against the Missaka chief whose proxy leaders installed as quarter heads in neighbouring villages were declared null and void.

Njock villagers say, although they respect administration and law, they want to let the chief know that he does not have a monopoly on the use of violence.

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