Administrative and security officials in the South West Regions had in prelude to the kick-off of the 2018/2019 academic year on Monday, September 3, 2018, assured the population that security measures have been stepped up and that security officials have been assigned to various academic institutions to protect pupils and students as they begin the new academic year.
This assurance was intended to woo parents to send their children to school. However, when the school doors finally opened for the new academic year, there were no security officers in any of the school campuses that The National Times visited in Buea.
This reporter thought that the situation on Monday was fuelled by the ghost town phenomenon that was roundly respected. Meanwhile, when The National Times still visited some schools on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, to assess the security situation in schools in Buea Sub-division and the attendance rate of students after a timid start on Monday, the situation was still the same.
From the oldest Secondary school in the Region, Bilingual Grammar School (BGS) Molyko, to the newest, the situation was the same.
There were no military personnel at the entrance of BGS or even inside. Very few students were spotted with assorted dresses entering into the school campus.
Talking to the guard on duty at BGS, he revealed that no Police Officer has been seen around the campus or inside the campus.
“Since yesterday, I have not seen any Police Officer here. Even today, no officer has showed up. Last year we had many of them stationed outside the campus to protect the students. Maybe they will come later,” the guard on duty told National Times.
It was the same scenario at Government Technical High (GTH) School Buea, which is directly opposite BGS Molyko. No security officer was seen around the school premises even though very few students were spotted entering the campus.
At Government Bilingual High School Muea(GBHS), The National Times gathered that no security officer has been seen around the area. It was revealed that there is constant military patrol in Muea, but no police officer has been stationed in the school. The National Times also learnt that no student has been to the campus since classes started on September 3.
Muea has been at the centre of daily confrontations between pro-independence fighters and the military.
Meanwhile, at Government Bilingual High School (GBHS) Bomaka, The National Times found an overgrown campus with dilapidated walls depicting abandonment. At Government High School (GHS) Bokwango, the situation was not different as very few students were seen clothed in assorted dresses entering the campus, but there were no police officers on guard.
“For now, we do not have any security to protect the students. I want to think that by next week, security measures will be taken by the Government to station police officers at the school entrance. But we are here to compliment them, even though we don’t have guns like them”, the guard on duty told The National Times.
Even though it is too early to draw conclusion about the absence of police officers in school campuses in Buea Sub-division as promised by the abovementioned officials, Buea denizens think that it a security tactics.