By: Yanick Fonki Ndaley
The untold hardship that the restive Anglophone Crisis has had on the people, cannot be overemphasised.
Counting the losses accrued from deaths, displacements, burning of properties, to name but this few, the physical and psychological pains born from the crisis, seem to only deepen as the days go by.
One of the many losses noted in the crisis, is the disappearance of the civil status documents of many.
From National Identity (ID) cards, Birth certificates, resident permits, amongst others, many, especially those residing in the most hit parts of the two English Speaking regions, continue to decry the loss of one or more of their documents.
From adults and youths above 20 who have lost their ID cards, to children who now have no Birth certificates to identify them, as well as foreigners, whose resident permits, have also misplaced in the warring process, the situation is actually disturbing.
This problem is further compounding with the fact that the victims cannot move to safer parts of the country, given that they would be blocked by security operatives, who carryout identity checks on the road.
That has caused many to remain either in the bushes, or stay indoors because they lost all their identification documents.
“My house was razed by the military in Bole Bakundu, and because of too much shooting, I ran to the bush. I lost everything to the burning. Now, I am stranded because I can neither run to my family in Limbe, noh, move to Kumba, given that the military standing on the road, will either arrest or shoot” lamented Bakia Derick, an Internally Displaced person (IDP), now seeking refuge in a forest in Meme Division.
Military officials are yet to react to these claims.
Statistics from detention facilities say majority of those arrested in recent times, are guilty of not having identification papers.
The process of making the ID cards have made even complicated with the fusing of the identification centres to one or two places per city.
“Our cell host at least 10 new persons each week, who were arrested for not having ID cards. In such cases, these individuals are only let to leave if they bail themselves with 30, 000 frs or more, depending on the situation. Which is why we always advice people to move with their ID cards, so that they don’t get such penalties,” Ngwa Elizabeth, a police officer in Buea said.
Meanwhile, some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), have been seeking ventures to mitigate the effects especially for victims who vulnerably had their civil status documents misplaced.
One of such CSOs, is the Global Forum for the Defence of the Less Privileged (GFDLP). The non-profit Human Rights Organisation has successfully secured the endorsement of Southwest administration, as well as the legal departments, so that identified victims who lost all documents to the crisis, can once again regain them.
“ The Secretary General at the Southwest Governor’s Office expressed the commitment of the Governor to ensure that all Divisional Officers, Mayors, and Forces of Law and Order, collaborate with us in facilitating the process of procuring the Civil Status Documents for IDPs across the Region. In the same vein, we have secured endorsement of the Presidents of the High Courts, and Courts of First Instance, as well as the Mayors of councils. Those endorsement will assist us in facilitating the procurement of these much-cherished documents for those who lost it to the crisis. I want to insist here, that we shall do all of that for identified IDPs, at our own cost,” elucidated, Mr Akoh Baoudwin, GFLDP Executive President.
The CSO promises to create a database of affected IDPs in the Southwest Region, and immediately commence with the procurement process.
By: Yanick Fonki Ndaley