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Federalism Is A Political Issue- PM Tells Lawyers



BaretaNews hereby presents a summary of what transpired during the Bamenda meeting as presented by Barrister Nkongho, Fako Lawyers Association President. It reads:

Dear Faklans

We were informed on Thursday evening by Barrister Bobga Harmony President of NOWELA that the Prime Minister wants to meet with Common Law Lawyers who called for the strike action in Bamenda on Friday 9 AM.

In line with our last Mutengene resolutions that we intend to meet only with the Prime Minister and either in Buea or Bamenda, a delegation made up of President NKONGHO FELIX AGBOR, BCM NJUALEM CHARLES, BCM NTOKO JUSTICE AND ASOH EPEY left for Bamenda on Friday 3 AM.

We got to Bamenda and realized that the PM invited us and other groupings like Teachers, Fons, Clergy Men, Politicians etc.

The PM also decided to receive these various groupings separately.

Eleven lawyers went into meeting with the PM whilst the others present waited outside.

The PM opened the discussion by saying that the meeting is upon instructions from the Head of State to know exactly our worries and open dialogue with the lawyers.

During the discussions, all our problems which have been expressed in our various resolutions, communiques and declaration were presented to the PM by the various speakers (lawyers) who took the floor.

On Federalism, the PM said neither he nor any other minister is competent to discuss it because it’s a political issue. He however agreed that though legal the issue of Federalism is a political issue and he will like us to concentrate on the other worries.

He acknowledged that most of the issues raised are genuine and we should not cease to demand for them and we should seek a broad based discussion on them so that lasting solutions can be arrived at.

He promised to make a statement on the ill treatment of lawyers next week and equally that we should give him up to Friday next week to resolve the wig and gown issue.

On the banning and suspension of our associations, he said he will equally look into same but adviced that the associations which are not registered with the administration should do so. He said he was not comfortable with the creation of Common law Bar Association because the present Bar Law has to be modified before we create the Common Law Bar and not the reverse. He however said from our explanations he on a personal note thinks a Common Law Bar is a brilliant idea.

The issue of transfer of civil law magistrates was elaborately discussed and the PM sought to know the problems created and how feasible to transfers were to be done. We explained and he said we should rest assured that he is taking that seriously but did not promise any immediate solution.

The PM showed some instructions from the Head of State to the effect that all laws must be published in both English and French. He however acknowledged that there have been some lapses and same shall be cured.

On the creation of Law School, the PM said it’s a great idea but the modalities must be put in place in subsequent consultative meetings with all judicial actors before same can be created.

Gentlemen it was a 2 hours plus meeting and it’s difficult to put everything down over this medium.

Generally the PM was gentlemanly and listened carefully to our worries. He asked questions and equally answered questions from us. He made it clear that he and the entire government is open to dialogue and ready to seek lasting solutions to our problems. He advised us to ask for broad based discussions and not to sideline our titular ministry.

The PM expressly acknowledged that there is an anglophone problem and that to him all what Paul Atanga Nji said is not the government position.

My opinion is that the PM as a politician did well in the meeting.
That it’s a plus for us that the PM left Yaounde to talk to us at our base.
That we should wait as he promised for the outcome of our meeting by Friday next week.

At the end of the meeting, our leaders decided that the strike continues until we see the manisfrstation of good faith and some actions carried out by the government to resolve our worries.



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