Kumba( National Times)-President Biya’s peace messenger to Cameroon’s restive North West and South West Regions lived the realities of war Thursday May 16th as he journeyed from Buea to Kumba. Dion Ngute’s duty was partly finished in this last lap of his two weeks visit thanks to the military artillery that secured his convoy.
On Thursday, Kumba was already inundated with a high level presence of armed security officers. Then a few minutes beyond 11AM same day, scores of military armoured cars, customized security vehicles and security officers in plain cloth announced Dion Ngute’s arrival at the Barombi-Kang neighbourhood.
Moments later, another detachment of security vehicles reached Barombi-Kang in similar mood. Afterwards, president Biya’s august envoy, Prime Minister Dion Ngute stepped out of his car. He had just survived through the deadly Kumba-Buea road axis.
South West Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai alongside other high profile personalities were transported in amoured cars. Other government ministers were immersed in the most secured areas of the convoy.
As Dion Ngute went about reviewing the constituted corps, a military helicopter hovered all over Kumba. This lasted for hours as the Head of government went about his assignment.
The Prime Minister then left for the Divisional office. Here, he had a brief meeting with security and administrative authorities. He visited the Kumba District Hospital to see the extent of the damage of the arson attack of February 11th this year.
Dion Ngute encourgaged the staff of the health facility. He then announced that, the crisis was nearing its end.
The next item of the Prime Minister was the occasion at the Kumba City Council grandstand. He would be glamoursly received by hundreds of people. The crowd had surprisingly defied a separatists-imposed ghost town.
The PM’s convoy drove through a deserted city. Stores , businesses and other places of social engagement were grounded. The National Times learnt he had been informed in the early hours of the day of the situation even before his convoy left Buea.
Despite the challenge, the Prime Minister maintained a calm posture all through the visit. Addressing the population, Dion Ngute said there is time for everything. He said president Biya was ready to solve all Anglophone grievances. Biya’s disdain of secession was highlighted.
The PM said, Anglophones were at the verge of losing a whole generation given that children are not going to school. He urged the population to make sure that schools resume in September 2019.
Ngute said it is time for the killings, beheadings, assassinations and collection of ransoms to come to an end. He lamented over the frail business climate due to the crisis.
According to Dion Ngute, president Biya has promised to organise special recruitments for youths across the North West and South West Regions once the crisis comes to an end.
He then charged all to support Biya’s peace initiative by calling on the separatists’ fighters to disarm and return to normal lives.
At the end of the visit, some 22 youngsters were presented to the Prime minister as separatists’ fighters who have disarmed in line with appeals from the state.
In an earlier address, the Government Delegate to the Kumba City Council Victor Nkelle Ngoh said, the population of Meme and Kumba were yearning for an end to the crisis.
Ngoh recalled the sufferings of the masses before stating that, the people see Dion Ngute as a man whose mission can arrest the crisis.
He cited issues of development such as the need for basic services especially roads. He said Kumba deserves to get a befitting football stadium given its football potential.
After the ceremony, the convoy returned to the Divisional office. Here, PM Dion Ngute granted brief audiences to different groups. He then left for Buea under the same heavy military escort.
Dion Ngute left Kumba without going for a banquet prepared in his honour. The National Times learnt that, millions had been spent to prepare the banquet at the Senior Divisional Officer’s (SDO’s) residence.
It is viewed that, the PM’s convoy left Kumba in a haste for fear of the unknown on the Kumba-Buea road stretch. There had been gunshots early Thursday in Buea. Such reportedly delayed the convoy in before for hours before it left for Kumba.