Cameroon: Armed security officers implicated in plot to seize University of Buea land – Vice-Chancellor

Par Atia T. AZOHNWI | Cameroon-Info.Net
Buea - 16-Oct-2020 - 06h11   8555                      
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University of Buea Archives
Professor Ngomo Horace Manga, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buea, UB, says attempts by some individuals to seize land belonging to his institution is a venture in futility.

In a dispatch dated Thursday, October 15, 2020, the university administrator appealed to the public not to be victims of a land scam being championed by yet-to-be-identified individuals in complicity with security officers.

“The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buea wishes to inform the General Public, Staff, and students of the University of Buea, that on the 6th of October, while the University was on vacation, some yet-to-be-identified individuals, protected by armed security officers, trespassed into the University grounds to engage in an apparent land seizure,” said Professor  Ngomo.

He said the land area where this group trespassed upon has the following infrastructure: the demonstration and research farms under cultivation belonging to the Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicines; the just-completed University multimedia Center – a donation from the Head of State, which will serve for the development of e-learning content and facilitate virtual learning, and the foundation of the building to host the newly-created Faculty of Laws and Political Science, under construction.

“In the days that followed, this same group, this time, came with bulldozers to create a layout in the area,” said Professor Ngomo. “In a most brazen disregard for University property, they ran bulldozers over students’ demonstration farms with plantain, cassava, tomatoes, cabbage, under cultivation, including over highly prized ongoing research farms done in partnership with some foreign universities.”

The men who may not be unconnected to the Bulu Community that has since laid claim on the disputed piece of land also ran their bulldozers over inspection chambers of optical fiber cables laid in that area from the Multimedia Center to the Faculty of Laws and Political Science building under construction.

This interference has put the integrity of the cables and their functionality in question, the Vice-Chancellor said yesterday.

Professor Ngomo assures staff and students whose farms were destroyed that he reported the invasion and destruction of University property to the hierarchy with supporting visual evidence as soon as they happened.

“Meanwhile, the university has commissioned a team to evaluate the destroyed crops and property and to prosecute the perpetrators,” he said.

While calling on the students to keep their calm, the Vice-Chancellor advises the perpetrators that in the interest of social peace on campus, they should stop their activities.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the university will not hesitate to destroy any unauthorized construction in that area,” Professor Ngomo promised. “Hence, we appeal to the public not to be victims of this land scam. Already, we see a widely circulating social media post showing a boisterous looking individual leading a few others in what appears to be an improvised demonstration intended to make claims to the land.”

He ends by cautioning security officers against accompanying the perpetrators of the land seizure.

His words: “Finally, it may be necessary to remind the public, particularly those under whose directive the security officers accompany the perpetrators into UB campus that they are in violation of the provisions of Article 41(2) of Decree No 093 /027 of 19 January 1993. The cited provisions formally prohibit entry into a university’s premises of Law enforcement officers and bailiffs for the purpose of executing an order without the express authorization of the head of the institution.”

Cameroon-Info.Net recalls that the Supreme Court had on Wednesday, September 2, 2020, canceled a land certificate held by the Bulu Traditional Council and others over the said parcel of land belonging to the University of Buea.

The court's decision is based on the authenticity of the land title brandished by the Bulu traditional council over the parcel of land in Bulu – the land occupied by UB. 

 “Cancellation of fraudulent land title on UB Bulu Land,” read the subject of a press release signed by Professor Ngomo Horace Manga, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buea and addressed to the university community and the general public.

He said: “The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buea hereby announces to the University Community and the general public that by Judgment No. 110/FD/2020 of 2nd September 2020, the Administrative Bench of the Supreme Court of Cameroon has canceled Judgment No. SWAC/LSP/003/2019 of the South West Administrative Court granting Parcel of A2 (of land) that stretches from the St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church to the Bulu Village Traditional Council and Others. 

“Consequently, Land Certificate No. 07461 Vol. XXXVIII folio 53 of 23 February 2014 issued to the Bulu Village Traditional Council and Others on the said Parcel A2 of land has been nullified (squashed). All those trading on the University of Buea land should desist from such malpractice as intruders shall be prosecuted by law.”

But recent actions on the disputed parcels of land are said to have been carried out by the Bulu Village Traditional Council on the strength of a ministerial order transferring the disputed parcels of land to it.

On September 1, 2020, a day before the Supreme Court ruling, Henri Eyebe Ayissi, Cameroon’s Minister of State Property, Surveys and Land Tenure dispatched a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buea, informing him of the retrocession of the disputed land to the Bulu Community.

The letter has as subject, “land dispute between Bulu Community and the University of Buea.”

“Based on the recommendations of the commission chaired by the Senior Divisional Officer of Fako in September 2019 settling the land dispute mentioned supra,” the minister wrote, “I have the honor to inform you that, the Senior Divisional Officer for Fako has been  requested to reduce land certificates 02694/Fako and 02695/Fako established on behalf of the University of Buea, to retrocede the  both disputed parcels to the Bulu Community and to find another site which will be attributed in compensation to the University of Buea.”

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Atia T. AZOHNWI
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