In an exclusive interview which he granted The Guardian Post Newspaper, the Mayor of the Ndu Municipality, Mr Abdou Kanfon Borno made a series of explosive claims and revelations on several issues including government action towards the affected families of the unforgettable Ngarbuh debacle.
He also spoke on the continuous exploitation without benefit of the Cameroon Tea Estate (CTE), which is now run by Alhadji Baba Danpullo.
The CTE which had for long been under the management of the state before it became privatised, was a major source of income and revenue for the people Donga Mantung Division. Thousands of indigenes from Ndu lived their lives with exclusive comfort out of labouring at the estate.
However, ever since the company was transferred into private ownership, the fortunes of the indigens have been reversed. Thousands of persons have complained about Danpullo’s iron fist and disregard for the people and his labourers in his handling of the CTE.
With his sole purpose aimed at maximising profit as much as possible, the Tea factory squeezes every inch of labour it can from its workers with a very deplorable pay package just enough to keep body and soul together.
Quizzed about the activities of the CTE and how beneficial it is to the people of Ndu and to the Municipality, Mayor Abdou Kanfon Borno did acknowledge some of the concerns and equally assured some measures were already being taken to ensure that the people and the council benefitted from the CTE the same way it benefits from them.
“What is rather intriguing is the fact that though operating in the Ndu Municipality, the CTE has elected to be paying taxes elsewhere. We are told that the taxes are paid in the North West Regional Taxation Center in Bamenda,” he mentioned.
The Mayor equally followed up by saying that huge companies such as the CTE, however, usually pay their taxes either in Yaoundé or Douala, yet owe a significant amount of money in royalties to their host Municipalities, something which he says has never been done by the CTE for the over two decades of private ownership.
“They have never paid a single franc to the council since the tea estate was privatised more than 27 years ago,” he said. “We are working hard to make sure the council starts benefiting what it’s due to them… Paying royalties to the Ndu Municipality is not a favour but a right,” he added.
Mr Abdou Kanfon Borno in his exclusive talk to The Guardian Post Newspaper also elaborated on certain very sensitive aspects of the Ngarbuh massacre which was carried on by Military forces on February 14, 2020.
When the Mayor was asked about government plans for Ngarbuh and the forgotten promises it had made to the heart broken families of the village, the mayor rather differed with the popular opinion and maintained that the state had done enough to ammend the pain that had been caused by the military to the people of Ntumbaw and to the families.
The Mayor outlined that Government had opted to exhume the corpses of the victims for proper burial but had the offer rejected by the indigens who said it was against their beliefs. On the proposed installation of a military base in the village, the Mayor said that had already been done by the state too as well as the reconstruction of several roads leading into the village.
Perhaps surprising too was the revelation that the families which had been affected by the massacre had all recieved at least 18 Million FCFA each as reparations for the damage by the government. “They are very happy, most of them have forgiven those who masterminded the killings. The Army General even went to Ngarbuh and apologized to the population on behalf of the Military…,” he claimed.
“He did not only apologize, but the way he did it, the people were appeased. When the Governor came with the envelope from the Head of State, the Spokesperson who also lost several of his family members was categorical that they had accepted the apology of the Army General,” the official explained.
In addition to what the Mayor says the Government had done for the people of Ngarbuh in atonement for what happened, Mr Abdou Kanfon Borno added that certain things like the establishment of pipe borne water, the construction of a Health Center, fixing of roads and the extension of electricity was going to improve the situation of the people of Ngarbuh and spur them to move on.