Hundreds of inhabitants of the new town airport in Douala have been rendered homeless after phase three of demolitions earlier announced in September by the Commander of the Douala International Airport.
According to the commander, Elive Ntui, the occupied environment was not a safe place for the population since it was an active area for plane landing and needed to be evacuated for the safety of the population. Despite this decision, many inhabitants still did not want to leave, as they had been living in the location for many decades.
“We do not understand what the government wants us to do now or where we should go. We have been living here for years now and have no other place to go,” Ngo Marie told one of our reporters.
“This is so inhuman. It does not matter whether we were aware of the demolition or not. We are not just happy with the government’s decision to drive us out of our houses like that. We have nowhere to go, and they do not even care,” added another inhabitant.
“This is so absurd. I have four children and do not know where to start. My husband died two years ago and left me with this house we built together for our children. Now they have broken the house, and I do not know where to start with my children.” Joseline Nguengou told our reporter on the field.
Information gathered on the field revealed that those whose homes have been broken have been compensated with some amount of money, ranging from 50,000 FCFA to 300,000 FCFA.
“Now they are here trying to compensate us. Some have been given 300,000 FCFA, while others have received 200,000 FCFA and others 50,000 FCFA. What do they want us to do with such an amount after breaking our houses worth millions? Can 50,000 FCFA even rent a house?” Nyako Georges complained.
“They have given me 100,000 FCFA as compensation. What will I do with it after my 4 million FCFA house has been demolished? I built my house because I was running away from rent. Now they are taking me back to square 1,” Nyamsi Ghislaine told our reporter.
In 2020, the government demolished over 100 houses in the same quarter without any prior notice or compensation to the inhabitants.
A similar event happened in May last year in Bali, Douala, after government bulldozers stormed the neighborhood and began demolishing structures that were said to have been built on state land.
Residents said they never received any notification from the government prior to the demolition.
Impromptu demolitions of private buildings by government institutions are common, not only in Douala but across the country.
A similar fate befell residents of Buea Town and Soppo in Buea in March this year after the Municipal Council brought down several houses and structures without giving their owners ample time to prepare.
Many said they were never compensated.
The sudden demolitions have usually taken Cameroonians aback in development, as many, who have spent millions to build their fortunes, have had to start all over again.