Cameroon – SONARA After The Ravaging Fire: Civil Society Leader Says Bakweri People Are Losers, Cites Decades Of Discrimination Of Locals

Par Atia T. AZOHNWI | Cameroon-Info.Net
Limbe - 03-Jun-2019 - 20h13   6444                      
Gabriel Mbene Vefonge Atia Azohnwi
Gabriel Mbene Vefonge, President of the Cameroon Agricultural and Allied Workers Trade Union, CAAWOTU – formerly known as the Divisional Syndicate of Agricultural Workers in Fako, DISAWOFA – has said the May 31, 2019 fire that ravaged the National Refining Company, SONARA has topped the years of losses incurred by the locals since the company went operational.

The trade unionist took to Facebook Monday, June 3, 2019 to pour out his frustration following what preliminary investigations say is a “technical fault” that caused an explosion that set four of SONARA’s 13 production units alight.

 Mbene says when the National Refining Company was constructed in the ‘70s and inaugurated in 1981 by Cameroon’s first president Amadou Ahidjo of blessed memory, great was the delight of the Bakweri people and the riverine population.

The populace were sure that new jobs would be theirs, coupled with developmental projects among other corporate social projects. But close to four decades after, Mbene says they are the biggest losers.

His words: “When SONARA was constructed in the 1970s and finally started its operations in 1981 inaugurated by His Excellency President Ahidjo, the Bakweris and all others riverine population of Limbe and Fako Division are today seen as the worst losers of this May 31, 2019 explosion and fire disaster.”

In justifying why he says they are losers, Mbene cited the following: “discrimination in employment, discrimination in the award of contracts and supplies, oil spills on the sea that pollute [the environment] and deposits of solid waste; today, the risk of such explosion, collateral damages of property and toxic gases that might create unexpected health hazards in the community.”

Gabriel Mbene Vefonge argues that despite the aforementioned cases of deprivation and marginalisation, the locals should at least benefit from special measures in a social corporate accord.

Hear Mbene: “This is why the Bakweris ought to have been benefiting from special measures in a social corporate accord or agreements. As SONARA becomes our latest threat, it’s important for various authorities, and civil society organization to go to the drawing board to revisit the policy earlier put in place which has failed over the years to satisfy the surrounding community of this jewel.” 


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