The Founder/President of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) describes as laudable the peace mission initiative of Prime Minister Dion Ngute but hopes it is sincere and holistic.
“Generally, a peace mission is a laudable initiative and is something that each and every one will support. My only hope is that it should be a peace mission that is very sincere and that the peace mission will be very holistic; meaning that each and every one who is a party or stakeholder should be invited or given an opportunity on the peace table to contribute their own quota towards lasting peace,” Agbor Balla said.
The former President of the Fako Lawyers Association (FAKLA) who was among those who held talks with government in 2016 and January 2017 to rescue Common Law practice in a bi-jural Cameroon said he will not miss an opportunity to bare his mind before the Prime Minister.
Hear him: “If the PM invites him for talks, it will depend on why he is doing so. In what capacity will he be inviting me? Who am I to be invited by the Prime Minister for talks?
“But as I have always said, I remain open to dialogue, to listen and to share my views and experiences with whomever. We have been doing that with those in the international community, with the UN, EU, Canada, US, UK and Germany. We have been doing advocacy all over the world. So, nothing stops me from meeting the Prime Minister to have a discussion with him and to have a frank talk with him. I will not pamper his ego. I will tell him the way I feel. I will tell him that for him to talk about peace; he must first of all create an enabling environment. He should ensure that there could be reconstruction of the more than 200 villages that have been burnt. He should ensure that those who are in detention are released and then we sit on the dialogue table.”
To those who have taken up arms to fight for the independence of a country they call Ambazonia, Human Rights Lawyer Agbor Balla did not mince words when he said they have to start shifting grounds and showing good faith as well.
“Also, I will urge those who have taken up arms to reconsider their position because if we need to dialogue, it will be give and take. We cannot be fixed on our particular positions and want things to change. All of us should be ready to ensure that at least we give in something so that peace can reign in the country,” said Agbor Balla.
He also reacted on the European Parliament resolution that called on government to unban the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) he once led with Dr. Fontem Aforteka’a Neba as Secretary General.
His words: “I read the EU with regards to the unbanning of the consortium. I think it is a good thing. Some of us have moved beyond the Consortium but if they can work with groups, not just the Consortium but other groups that are out to finding a lasting solution to the crisis.
“If they can allow the Cardinal Tumi led initiative [the Anglophone General Conference] to go on and other moderate voices to go on with their conferences and attempts at dialogue. Unbanning the consortium will be a laudable initiative. Don’t forget the consortium was a centric organisation that took the interest and consideration of each and every Southern Cameroonian – federalists, those who believe in separation, and unitary state. It was very much all-inclusive.”
Agbor Balla was arrested on January 17, 2017 along with Consortium scribe Dr. Fontem Neba moments after the CACSC they led was banned by Cameroon’s Territorial Administration Minister at the time, Rene Emmanuel Sadi.
He was held in detention until September 1, 2017 when he was freed along with some detainees arrested in connection to what has become known as the Anglophone crisis. During his stay in jail, he was charged under the 2014 law on the suppression of acts of terrorism and appeared before the military tribunal facing the maximum sentence. Today, he has forgiven all who have wronged him and also calls on those he might have hurt through his actions and inaction to forgive him.