Last week, Atanga Nji Paul, Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration left Yaoundé to chair a security meeting in Bamenda.
The Minister announced that President Paul Biya has won the fight the state waged against armed separatists in the North West and South West Regions.
Needless examining Minister Atanga Nji’s gaffes when it comes to speaking unscripted. That will be the subject of an unending write-up.
The war Minister Atanga Nji claims President Biya has won, is the on-going armed conflict between Government troops and separatist fighters in the two Anglophone Regions in the country.
Whether it is Biya fighting against the creation of the state of Ambazonia or it is the government of Cameroon waging the war is immaterial for now. What is clear is that there is a conflict ongoing in the North West and South West Regions. A war that could have been avoided if the state had value for human life.
Had the regime of 88-year-old Paul Biya provided solutions to the demands of Anglophone teachers and lawyers, troops would not have been dying at the battlefront against ill-armed separatists.
Minister Atanga Nji’s claim that President Biya, or to put better, the Cameroon Government has won the war against secessionist terrorists, is to say the least bogus and lacking in truth.
However, the controversial claim that was made by Atanga Nji in Bamenda on January 18 has certainly not been a surprise to many. This is because Cameroonians have, in the last few years, taken note of the fact that Minister Atanga Nji is notorious for making controversial statements.
When the Anglophone Crisis sparked off, Atanga Nji embarrassed the English-speaking population, and even many French-speaking citizens when he claimed that there was no Anglophone Problem in Cameroon.
Even President Biya publicly dismissed his claim by admitting that there was an Anglophone Problem.
Biya went on to organize the major National Dialogue to resolve the crisis and Atanga Nji attended. But then, it happened that though Paul Atanga Nji claimed that there was no Anglophone Problem in Cameroon, he ironically turned out to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Anglophone Crisis.
This is in the sense that he was the first Anglophone to be appointed Minister of Territorial Administration in Cameroon.
It is the same case with Dr. Nalova Lyonga who, in the March 2, 2018 cabinet reshuffle, became the first Anglophone to be appointed Minister of Secondary Education. It would be recalled that some of the grievances that were publicly raised by Anglophones in the country was that Anglophones were never appointed to head key ministries like Territorial Administration and Secondary Education.
In addition, following the appointments of Atanga Nji and Nalova Lyonga on March 2, 2018, the media in Cameroon, including the official media, as well as thrle ruling party CPDM elite who appeared on political debates over audiovisual media organs, were unanimous that the appointments were part of President Biya’s reaction to some of the grievances that Anglophones have been raising over the years, to justify the fact that they were being marginalised.
Several bomb blasts were reported in various neighbourhoods in Bamenda on Monday, January 18, following the visit and security meeting of the Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji.
According to reports, there was a bomb blast at Mile 90 on Bali-Bamenda road and another at T-Junction in the heart of Bamenda wounding four civilians; yet another bomb blast at Mile 6 Nkwen.
Several people were also abducted, notably; the Administrative Manager at the Bamenda Regional Hospital, John Fung.
The abductors suspected to be Separatists are said to have whisked him off to an unknown destination on Wednesday, January 20, at 8.00am as he was heading to his job site.
All this marked Minister Atanga’s security meeting which he held at Bamenda Up Station with the soldiers and close collaborators.
The security meeting was to ensure that peace reigns as well as hand down instructions from the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Paul Biya, to soldiers on ‘Ground Zero’ and condolences to families that recently lost loved ones.
According to Minister Atanga Nji, despite some pockets of resistance from Separatist fighters, “… the situation in the North West Region is under control. President Biya is winning the war.”
He appealed to parents to work in synergy with the forces of law and order, to urge their children in the bushes to lay down their arms, “… come and we receive them and they enjoy normal life, because, they will be well treated in the Disarmament camp.”
Recalling the incident at the gateway into Bamenda at Matazem where four soldiers and two civilians were shot, Minister Atanga Nji called on soldiers to be extremely vigilant so as not register more deaths. He congratulated the Fon of Pinyin who is reported to have convinced four alleged Amba boys to surrender locally fabricated local guns, which Atanga Nji qualified as not easy weapons.
He, however, warned those who continue to remain in the bushes that they will face the music.
When the Ngarbuh Massacre happened, Minister Atanga Nji organised a press briefing where he declared, and insisted that separatist fighters committed the massacre.
He went to the extent of naming certain international and local human rights organisations, as well as some local media organs, that he falsely accused of fabricating and propagating false information on the Ngarbuh Massacre.
When a commission of enquiry set up by President Biya revealed that the Ngarbuh Massacre was committed by elements of the Cameroon military, Atanga Nji did not apologize for all the lies he told the public on the issue. Someone with a sense of honour would have resigned from Government, but he did not.
Atanga Nji’s controversial declarations are not only limited to the Anglophone crisis. He does same in national politics, especially against hard-line opposition parties that refuse to play along with his ruling CPDM. Prof Maurice Kamto and his party, the CRM knows this, too well.
We at Mimi Mefo Info are of the strong opinion that Atanga Nji should for once tell himself the truth. For someone who attends Mass every morning, he should know that the killing of civilians in Mautu village and unarmed teenagers in Meta Quarter by government troops only tells of the gravity of the situation.
For the sake of the blood of innocent Anglophones, Atanga Nji should repent and tell President Biya to do the needful – negotiate Cameroon out of this senseless war!