Request of Rev. Father Eric akue-goeh, a Jesuit missionary from the Republic of Benin, and assistant parish priest of the Our Lady

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By Dr. Arnold B. Yongbang


This paper was prepared in 2006 at the request of Rev. Father Eric AKUE-GOEH, a

Jesuit missionary from the Republic of Benin, and assistant parish priest of the Our Lady

of the Annunciation Parish, Bonamoussadi, Douala, who was fascinated by the

Anglophone problem, and invited me to make a presentation of the problem to the

Anglophone Community in the parish, but had to be aborted because of strong objections

from some of the Anglophone parishioners who felt that the presentation would be

introducing politics into the Church. This is another dimension of the Anglophone

Problem – the Anglophone up against himself / herself !

1. So what is the Anglophone Problem?


11, carried an interview by the paper’s then Editor-in-Chief, Rev. Fr. Antoine de Padoue

Chonang, with our own outspoken and uncompromising moral authority, His Eminence

Christian Wiyghan Cardinal TUMI, on the ‘ANGLOPHONE PROBLEM’. Here are

some excerpts of the interview:

Fr. Antoine:

His Eminence:


Accumulated frustrations from the unilateral cancellation of the federation, to Fru Ndi’s

victory in the 1992 elections as affirmed by ambassadors but which was not recognized,

harassment of Anglophones and ill-treatment of all sorts, restriction of their legitimate

political aspirations, etc…, create a real malaise. It is even said that there are posts that

can never be occupied by an Anglophone, for example, an Anglophone has never been

the Secretary-General of the Presidency…”.

L’EFFORT Camerounais No. 315 of October 15 to October 28, 2003, pages 10 andIn your opinion, is there an Anglophone problem in Cameroon?”

Cameroon, yes. There is a real malaise, like I said in my open letter and elsewhere.

1.2 That, in a nutshell is the ‘Anglophone Problem’ in the Cameroons. But it is not quite

that simple: it is much more ramifying and complex. There is the very disturbing rider to

the problem: the fact that so-called Anglophone intellectuals who, for purely selfish

interests, allow themselves to be used by neo-colonisers to confuse the populations who

look up to these same intellectuals for enlightenment and guidance in their struggle for

their inherent and inalienable right of Self-determination and Independence. Some

intellectuals claiming to be knowledgeable about international law have indeed misled,

and still continue to mislead, the rank and file of the struggle to be masters of their own

destiny by their ignorance of international law. This ignorance caused the struggle to


spend nearly 43 years chasing the wrong shadow, namely, the independence of the

Southern Cameroons, with various misleading names like AMBAZONIA or

AMBAZANIA, instead of the independence of the former UN Trust Territory of the

Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration in accordance with the Charter of the

United Nations and the Trusteeship Agreement signed between the United Nations and

His Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

on 13 December 1946 “

objectives of the international trusteeship system laid down in Article 76 of the United Nations


to administer the Territory in such a manner as to achieve the basic

1.3 History has it that when Germany lost the First Word War in 1916 it also lost

sovereignty over its African colonies. In 1919 Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles

giving up all claims to her colonies including Kamerun. In 1922 under the League of

Nations Mandates System, German Kamerun was divided between Britain and France,

the victorious allies; the larger eastern part of the country went to France and became

known as French Cameroun while the smaller truncated western part went to Britain.

Britain further divided its portion into North and South ostensibly for administrative

convenience with its colony and protectorate of Nigeria. The British Northern Cameroons

was administered as part of the Northern Region of Nigeria; while the British Southern

Cameroons was administered as part of the Eastern Region of Nigeria.

1.4 With the creation of the United Nations Organisation in 1945, the Mandated

Territories transmuted to TRUST TERRITORIES under its International Trusteeship

System one of the basic objectives of which was:

“…to promote the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the

inhabitants of the trust territories and their progressive development towards selfgovernment

or independence as may be appropriate to the particular

circumstances of each trust territory and its peoples and the freely expressed

wishes of the people concerned”.

1.5 The 1922 boundary established between the two mandated territories is along the

Simon / Milner Line traced in 1916 by Britain and France, delimited in 1919, and

confirmed in 1922, literally making the two mandated territories two separate countries.

1.6 With the founding of the United Nations Organisation in 1945, territories that were

placed under the Mandates System of the League of Nations were transmuted into the

Trusteeship System of the United Nations Organisation and approved by the General

Assembly on December 13, 1946.


2. Regional Autonomy for the Southern Cameroons was a cruel illusion

2.1 With the introduction of internal self-government to the three regions of Nigeria in

1951 under the Macpherson Constitution, the British Government recognised that there

were some profound ethnic differences between the peoples of the Southern Cameroons

and those of the rest of the Eastern Region of Nigeria giving rise to a profound desire on

the part of the peoples of the Southern Cameroons to develop an existence as a separate

entity. For this reason the British Government agreed at the London Conference in 1953

that the Southern Cameroons should separate from the Eastern Region of Nigeria and

become a quasi-federal territory within the Federation of Nigeria. It was under the 1953

Constitution that the Southern Cameroons had its own government, with Dr. E. M. L.

Endeley as Leader of Government Business, and a legislature with prerogatives of

legislation in all areas except those that were specifically on the exclusive legislative list

of the government of the Federation of Nigeria.

2.2 At the Lagos Constitutional Conference of 1957, the Southern Cameroons requested

and was granted a full Regional Self-Governing Status within the Federation of Nigeria;

and so a cabinet system of government was introduced in the territory on May 15, 1958.

To all intents and purposes, from 1

the British Southern Cameroons had the standing of a

After attaining a full self-governing status, the next logical step was full independence.

Regrettably, Britain and France and the United States of America, the cold war allies, all

permanent members of the Security Council, conspired to deny the territory

independence contrary to the expressed wishes of the inhabitants of the territory, the

Charter of the United Nations and the Trusteeship Agreement.

2.4 In 1959, in anticipation of independence, France signed Co-operation Agreements

with her African and Caribbean colonies, including French Cameroun, literally making

these countries contractual colonies of France; and bringing their economies under the

direct control of France. This was indeed neo-colonialism and the United Nations turned

a blind eye to it. France, of course, is a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

:st October 1960, when Nigeria became independent,

de jure self-governing Territory.

3. The Bungled Termination of UN Trusteeship over the Cameroons under United

Kingdom Administration:

3.1 France granted “

under French administration on January 1, 1960, and the country took on the name of

Republique du Cameroun

insurrection ravaging the territory, no plebiscite nor referendum was held to ascertain

whether the peoples of that territory wanted independence then or at some future date, or

whether they would like to associate with any of its contiguous neighbours.


3.2 By contrast, on February 11 and 12, 1961, the United Nations imposed separate

plebiscites in the Northern and Southern British Cameroons “


inhabitants, or

people. Faced with this dilemma of two equally unacceptable alternatives, the peoples of

the British Southern Cameroons, with a population of about 800.000 inhabitants, voted to


had been negotiated and agreed upon at meetings between Premier John Ngu Foncha’s

Government of the Southern Cameroons and the Ahmadou Ahidjo Government of

French Cameroun and incorporated into the United Nations manifesto, ‘


The Northern Cameroons on its part voted to join the Federation of Nigeria

3.3 After the plebiscite, the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly

(UNGA) at its 15

recommended to the General Assembly for adoption Draft Resolution A/C.4/L/685:

- Operative paragraph 5 reads:-

independance avec la France” to its trust-territory of Camerounla. And despite the fact that there was a communist-backedto achieve independence by” either the Federation of Nigeria, with a population then of over 80 millionla Republique du Cameroun, with a population then of about 3.2 million

la Republique du Cameroun under a con-federal union, the broad outlines of whichTHE TWO, that was widely used for the plebiscite-enlightenment Session, while endorsing the results of the plebiscite, had

“… Invites the Administering Authority, the Governments of the Southern

Cameroons and the Republic of Cameroun to initiate urgent discussions with a

view to finalising, before 1 October 1961, the arrangements by which the agreed

and declared policies of the concerned parties for a Union of the Southern

Cameroons with the Republic of Cameroun into a Federal United Kamerun

Republic will be implemented.

-Operative paragraph 6 reads:-


be nominated one each from three member states designated by the General

Assembly to assist at the request of the parties concerned in the discussions

referred to in paragraph 5 above

3.4 Instead the United Nations General Assembly, at its 994

21 April 1961, passed Resolution 1608 (XV), and operative paragraph 5 reads:

‘’Appoints a Commission of three constitutional and administrative experts to”.th plenary meeting on

“… Invites the administering authority, the governments of the Southern

Cameroons and the Republic of Cameroun to initiate urgent discussions with a

view to finalising, before 1

policies of the concerned parties will be implemented’’.

st October, 1961, the arrangements by which the agreed

3.5 The Plenary of the General Assembly, which normally approved without amendment

draft resolutions submitted to it by the Fourth Committee, decided to amend the

Committee’s draft to delete any reference to the ‘Commission of Experts’ or to the

‘Federal character of the Union’ between the British administered Southern Cameroons


the Foreign Minister of


the General Assembly represented a grave injustice to the peoples of the British Southern

Cameroons and a betrayal of the Plebiscite Covenant by which the people had already

decided their future believing that they were doing so in a Federal Union of equal

partners with

3.6 Bluntly put, this was a fundamental breach of trust not only by the United Nations

and the United Kingdom as administering authority, but also by the government of

Republique du Cameroun

and the union accords signed by Premier John Ngu Foncha and President Ahmadou

Ahidjo in Yaoundé on October 14, 1960, and incorporated in the United Nations White

Paper, “THE TWO ALTERNATIVES” referred to above.

la Republique du Cameroun. These happened following strong objections raised byla Republique du Cameroun, Mr. Charles Okala. This action ofla Republique du Cameroun under United Nations guarantees.

lawho had reneged on its assurances to the General Assembly

4. The Post-Plebiscite Conference was a classical deception, Machiavellian style:

4.1 The weak and vulnerable position of the Southern Cameroons delegation at the Post-

Plebiscite Conference, that held in the town of Foumban in

from July 17-21, 1961, has been adequately summed up by Pierre Mesmer, one time

la Republique du Cameroun,

Haut Commissaire

Minister of the Armed Forces, and, still later, French Prime Minister, in his book titled

chapter V. pp. 114-135. Incidentally, the book is banned in the Cameroons. He concludes

that chapter with the following very revealing statement:


gouvernements à Foumban, en pays bamoun familier aux deux délégations, le 17

juillet. Le Président Ahidjo, an position de force, présenta un projet de constitution

faussement fédérale soigneusement préparé par ses juristes français. Ngu Foncha

n’avait aucun contreprojet. En position de faiblesse puisque la population qu’il

représentait ne dépassait pas le quart de celle du Cameroun français et moins encore

en termes économiques, il accepta sans discuter ce qui était, sauf en apparence, une

annexion. La nouvelle Constitution entra en vigueur le 1er octobre 1961. Une

plaisanterie circulait alors à Douala et à Yaoundé: ‘Le Cameroun réunifié est un pays

bilingue francophone’

(Our Translation:

Southern Cameroons and of la Republique du Cameroun) met in a constitutional

conference in Foumban, in Bamoun country, familiar to the two delegations, on July 17

(1961). President Ahidjo, from a position of strength, submitted for debate a fake federal

draft constitution which had been carefully crafted by his French jurists. Ngu Foncha

had no counter project. From a weak position, since the population which he represents

does not exceed a quarter of that of French Cameroun even in economic terms, Ngu

Foncha accepted without discussion what was in fact an annexation. The new

constitution came into force on 1 October 1961. A joke became rife in Douala and

Yaoundé that the reunified Cameroon was a bilingual francophone country’


4.2 What other revelation could be more stunning and compelling! If Mr. Mesmer, a

frontline French policy maker at the time, contends that Foncha had no counter proposal

to table at the Foumban talks, then what must have happened to the Constitutional

Proposals adopted at the

barely two weeks before the Foumban Conference?

4.3 The answer is provided for in the eye-witness account of the Foumban Conference

given by Mr. Samuel Njoya, who was the sub-prefect of Foumban at the time, as

reported by journalist Xavier Deutchoua in

2004, a monthly French language newspaper, under the banner headline,


total deception and betrayal of the good will and trust of the peoples of the Southern


4.4 The co-conspirators, Britain, France and the United States of America, took

advantage of the vacuum created by the death in September 1961 in a plane crash in

Africa of His Excellency Dag Hammarskjold, the United Nations Secretary-General, who

should have ensured the that UNO Resolution 1608 (XV) Para. 5 of 21/04/1961 were

executed. His successor, His Excellency U Thant, was appointed Acting Secretary-

General in November 1961. So in September 1961 and October 1961 there was no full

Secretary-General of the United Nations Organisation who could have ensured the full

and legal execution of the UNO Resolution 1608 (XV) paragraph 5 of 21/04/1961 on

Southern Cameroons future. It is said that the plane crash was not unrelated to the UN

scribe’s opposition to the programmed annexation of the British Cameroons to its

contiguous neighbours.

of French-administered Cameroun, who later became France’sLES BLANCS S’EN VONT’.

Récits de décolonisation. Edition Albin Michel, S.A., 1998,En Exécution du référendum, une conférence constitutionnelle réunit les”.‘To implement the results of the plebiscite, the Governments (of the.)All Party Conference in Bamenda from June 26 – 30, 1961,Les Cahiers de Mutations, Vol 018, January“LA DUPERIE”.. And so the post-plebiscite conference turned out to be an exercise in

5. From Self-Government back to a colony


5.1 The unilateral abrogation of the Union Accords and the insidious annexation of

the Peoples and Territory of the Southern Cameroons.

5.1.1 Article 73 of the Charter of the United Nations deals with the Declaration

Regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories. It reads:

“Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the

administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure

of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants

of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to

promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security

established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these

territories, and, to this end:


a) to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their

political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment,

and their protection against abuses;

b) to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of

the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free

political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory

and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement”.

5.1.2 UN General Assembly Resolution 224 (III) of 18 November 1948 on the

Administrative Unions Affecting Trust Territories reads, inter alia:

“…Recalling that the General Assembly approved these Agreements upon the

assurance of the Administering Powers that they do not consider the terms of the

relevant articles in the Trusteeship Agreements as giving powers to the

Administering Authority to establish any form of political association between the

Trust Territories respectively administered by them and adjacent territories which

would involve annexation of the Trust Territories in any sense or would have the

effect of extinguishing their status as Trust Territories;

Having considered the observations of the Trusteeship Council, contained in

the report covering its second and third sessions (A/603), on the existing or

proposed administrative unions between certain Trust Territories and the

adjacent territories under the sovereignty or control of the Administering


Notes the observations of the Trusteeship Council on such administrative

unions; and in particular;

Endorses the observation of the Trusteeship Council that an administrative

union “must remain strictly administrative in its nature and its scope, and that its

operation must not have the effect of creating any conditions which will obstruct

the separate development of the Trust Territory, in the fields of political,

economic, social and educational advancement, as a distinct entity”;

5.1.3 In

His Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom

Northern Ireland


the Trusteeship Agreement signed between the United Nations andof Great Britain andon 13 December 1946, Britain gave, inter alia, the following

Article 3

The Administering Authority undertakes to administer the Territory in such a manner as to

achieve the basic objectives of the international trusteeship system laid down in Article 76 of

the United Nations Charter. The Administering Authority further undertakes to collaborate

fully with the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Trusteeship Council in the

discharge of all their functions as defined in Article 87 of the United Nations Charter, and to


facilitate any periodic visits to the territory which they may deem necessary, at times to be

agreed upon with the Administering Authority.

Article 6

The Administering Authority shall promote the development of free political institutions suited

to the Territory. To this end the Administering Authority shall assure to the inhabitants of the

Territory a progressively increasing share in the administrative and other services of the

Territory; shall develop the participation of the inhabitants of the Territory in advisory and

legislative bodies and in the government of the Territory, both central and local, as may be

appropriate to the particular circumstances of the Territory and its peoples; and shall take all

other appropriate measures with a view to the political advancement of the inhabitants of the

Territory in accordance with Article 76 (b) of the United Nations Charter. In considering the

measures to be taken under this Article the Administering Authority shall, in the interest of the

inhabitants, have special regard to the provisions Article 5 (a) of this Agreement.

5.1.4 Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom as the Administering Authority

of the UN Trust Territory of the Cameroons betrayed not only the treaty she signed with

the United Nations in the Trusteeship Agreement but, most importantly, the trust of the

innocent peoples under its mandate and trusteeship by the wishy-washy manner in which

it terminated the Trusteeship over the territory, leaving the it in a very weak and highly

vulnerable position vis-à-vis the Federation of Nigeria and

la Republique du Cameroun.

The cumulative effect of these conditions set the stage for three of the most significant

political developments in the supposed union between the Southern Cameroons and

Republique du Cameroun

* The emergence of a one-party system and a vicious dictatorship;

la, namely:


government; and rule by decree;

The abolition of the federation and its replacement with a unitary system of


Cameroons generally referred to in the country as the “ANGLOPHONE

PROBLEM”, which ironically has turned out to be the greatest threat to the Union.

Human Rights lawyers have described it as

ever to take place under United Nations cover”.

The emergence of the problem of the English-speaking peoples of the Southern

the most sophisticated slave trade deal

5.2 The Hidden Agenda and the Transfer of Sovereignty

5.2.1 The fear of Communism and the possibility that the communist-backed

insurrection that was ravaging French Cameroun under the banner of the

Populations du Cameroun (UPC)

had initially been given sanctuary in the Southern Cameroons, would create a communist

bastion in this strategic geo-political region of Africa, forced the cold-war allies (Britain,

France and the United States of America) to violate the Charter of the United Nations and

the Trusteeship Agreement and to annex the British Cameroons to its contiguous

neighbours (Northern Cameroons to the Federation of Nigeria, and the Southern


Cameroons to

Emerson, American Consul-General, Lagos, to the US State Department, dated 11 May,

1959, says it all:

:Union desand its ally the ONE KAMERUN (O.K.) whose leadersla Republique du Cameroun). The following dispatch from Mr. John K.

“The Southern Cameroons is a frontier, exposed … to communist-inspired

influences, which can become a danger of serious magnitude. This reason, not to

speak of its great potentialities, makes the Southern Cameroons an area of

serious concern to the United States. … The present government in the Southern

Cameroons, made up of almost totally inexperienced and naive ex-primary school

teachers with good intentions, is incapable of grappling with the tremendous

problems which face it. … Leadership in the Southern Cameroons is

inexperienced, untrained and naive. … The logical conclusion would seem to be

that the Southern Cameroons, with its remoteness from Lagos, its complexities,

and its vulnerability, deserves increased attention on the part of the United



Office in the United Kingdom shows that British authorities at the Colonial office and at

the United Nations were opposed to the option of full independence for the Southern

Cameroons apparently because they thought that the territory did not have the resources

on its own to be a viable sovereign state. This is the background against which the

infamous and unacceptably ugly ‘TWO ALTERNATIVES’, of ‘achieving independence

by joining’ either the Federation of Nigeria or La Republique du Cameroun, were

engineered through the United Nations as the only basis for terminating United Nations

Trusteeship over the British Southern Cameroons. No effort was spared by the British

Government, operating behind the scenes, in order to ensure that the democratically

elected Prime Minister of the Southern Cameroons, the Right Honourable John Ngu

Foncha, should be denied the platform at the United Nations, to demand the option of full

independence for the territory.

5.2.3 The documents also reveal that Britain was careful not to offend either Nigeria or

the Cameroun Republic; and so British officials at the Colonial Office and at the United

Nations took the unconscionable position that the Southern Cameroons was expendable.

Lord Perth, British Minister of State at the Colonial Office, in a Minute of 12 October,

1960, to Sir John Martin of the same Office wrote:

Information gleaned from Declassified Secret Documents at the Public Record

“What would worry me is if a sequel to the Southern Cameroons’ try for

independence was that the Northern Cameroons went the same way. That would

really, I think, upset our relationship with Nigeria as a whole and for a long time

to come, and that is something which we must at all costs avoid. The Southern

Cameroons and its inhabitants are undoubtedly expendable in relation to this.”

5.2.4 Sir Andrew Cohen, Head of the UK Mission to the UN, New York, in a Confidential

Letter of 7 June, 1960, to Mr. Christopher Eastwood at the Colonial Office in London



“…Her Majesty’s Government position should be made abundantly clear to

Foncha in an effort to scotch tendencies towards the third question … The policy

of Her Majesty’s Government is to discourage any tendency towards a ‘third

question’ very strongly”.


were a mere pretext to deny the territory independence.

Concerns about Economic Viability of an independent Southern Cameroons The Report of the Fiscal Commissioner, Sir Louis Chick, on the Financial Effects

of the proposed new Constitutional Arrangements, Lagos 1953, concluded that:

“……a Southern Cameroons Regional government would not in the years ahead

be financially stable without external assistance. In good years it might pay its

way with a slender margin, but in lean years it would have no reserves to fall

back on if, over a period, the deficits exceed the surpluses”. Another report by Sir Sidney Phillipson on the Financial, Economic and

Administrative consequences to the Southern Cameroons of separation from Nigeria,

dated 9th October, 1959, concluded that:

“…… the territory could only exist as a separate entity on a precarious hand to

mouth basis and that it would not be viable as a completely independent

sovereign state”. By contrast, in another economic report in January 1961, Dr. Kenneth Berrill of

St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge, concluded that:

“…the Southern Cameroons is both fertile and full of promise; that it has been

growing fast and can grow even faster and that to do this it desperately needs

outside capital, especially for roads. To continue its fast economic growth the

country needs and improved road system, an enlarged agricultural extension

service and an improved marketing and grading service … government

participation in the economy – its total outlays, capital and recurrent, were £ 2.5

m. in 1959-60, more than double the figure for 1955-56 – had to increase still

further. By early 1961 the government will be providing all its own services or

paying the Nigerian government for them and its recurrent outlays alone will beat

the annual rate of about £ 2.5 m. To keep up its capital program will require

another £ 1 m. that year’’ Yet another 1963 Survey Report published by Professor D.E. Gardinier of the

London Institute of Race Relations and Assistant Professor of History at Bowling Green

State University, Ohio, USA, and Fulbright Scholar at the

Institute des Etudes Politiques

in Paris, made the following pertinent remarks:

“…Before reunification, the Southern Cameroons progressed peacefully

both economically and politically. The balance of trade from 1956 to 1961


for exports and imports of the Southern Cameroons as presented by the

Secretary of State for Finance (Hon. A.N. Jua) to the West Cameroon

House of Assembly as from the 9

balance of trade for the Southern Cameroons was consistently


th to 13th July, 1962, showed that the It should be noted that by October 1959 Nigeria was known to possess

hydrocarbon reserves in commercial quantities in the Bight of Biafra – which includes

the coastal stretches of ex-British Southern Cameroons. So Britain could not have been

unaware that the Southern Cameroons had the potential to be the repository of

hydrocarbon reserves which are today being wantonly exploited by neo-colonialists with

little or no benefit accruing to the inhabitants of the territory and which today accounts

for more than 70% of the GDP of the country. Yet, Britain lied to the General Assembly

of the United Nations in 1959 that an independent Southern Cameroons would not be

economically viable and that Her Majesty ‘a Treasury would be obliged to subsidise its


5.3 Over the years it has become increasingly evident that there was a hidden agenda in

this blatant act of betrayal of an innocent people. The francophone partners went into the

negotiations for the union in utter bad faith knowing fully well that they had no intention

of respecting the terms of the Union.


General Assembly on the 25

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