Mamfe, Cameroon-Sunday December 24, 2017-1:49 PM Local Time(Cameroon News Agency) In the wake of growing refugee crisis and persisting crackdown by Soldiers and elements of the National Defense Forces in Anglophone regions of Cameroon, the CEO of the Centurion Law Group who hails from Manyu division in the South West region, tells CNA that violence only begets violence . He has called on government to withdraw its troops from Anglophone regions and Manyu in particular if it intends to see an end to the current crisis and the return to normalcy.
The Founder of Africa Now Foundation in an exclusive interview granted to CNA lashes out at local Elites in Manyu whom to him have shockingly opted for silence in spite of the huge number of deaths and challenges facing their people.
NJ AYUK disclosed that the people of Manyu may have lost their education, shelter and loved ones but the hope of rebuilding the community should never be lost because Africa Now which is also a victim of the ongoing chaos will do its job by launching a big campaign to rebuild Manyu “….No one will stop me from rebuilding livelihoods and infrastructures…” He told CNA.
NJ Ayuk also reacted on the refugee crisis and the just ended visit of the Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland: Like Many Cameroonians agree, Anglophones must demand and refuse to accept nothing less than their rightful place in Cameroonian society and push for jobs and projects for their development and defend the jewel of the Anglo-Saxon tradition.
Read this mind-blowing and frank reaction from Son of Manyu
CNA: Good day and thanks for accepting to grant us this interview on the current situation in Manyu Division.
NJ AYUK– Thank you; I should be the one thanking you.
CNA: Briefly, who is NJ Ayuk?
NJ AYUK– I am from Manyu division in the South West region, my parents are from Ossing, I was raised in mission schools in Besongabang and Mamfe.
I am the, Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Centurion Law Group with a focus on Business and Oil and Gas Law.
I was lucky to be named amongst Forbes magazine top ten most influential Africans in 2015 and Financial Afrik 100 people transforming Africa.
I am the Author of Big Barrels, Africa Oil and Gas and its quest to prosperity which has sold more than 4000 copies.
CNA – You came to the limelight recently because of the current refugee situation in Manyu division; tell us how far have you gone with the aid supplies that were blocked? Did they finally reach the refugee camp?
NJ AYUK– We will find ways to help the refugees. At the moment we are working with the Manyu Chiefs to bring relief to the villages affected in Cameroon. We will work with all parties to bring reliefs to bring reliefs to our families in Nigeria. They will not be forgotten.
CNA- Great! You are therefore in the process of providing aid to fleeing Manyu residents and we are still counting the number of refugees, the situation seems complex.
NJ AYUK– You didn’t see me on television; you didn’t see news stories about me. The kind of role that people like me should play is to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped a bigger humanitarian organization might come and help the people. It is important to do this while staying away from the limelight.
Africa Now Foundation is going to do its job in Manyu and other affected areas. Someone needs to talk some sense in an era where many are focused on the anger. I just believe that I have been blessed to have a lot of influence, but it has to be used with our foundation to help those in need. Why don’t we think about assisting the people who have lost so much in the crisis? I want to launch a big campaign to rebuild Manyu.
We will do it. We will raise the money to invest and do this. I will invest my own personal finds to it. We cannot wait on others. Manyu is where I got my head start. No one will stop is from rebuilding livelihoods and infrastructure.
The chiefs are with us and we will support them when it comes to food supplies, we are going to supply food all over Manyu. We will start on immediately. We call on all sides to avoid any attacks on Aid Workers. We need to make our people whole again. We need to fix things. Maybe as a Christmas initiative, it will make some sense if Government calls for an immediate cease fire and start having a dialogue with the parties. Solutions can be found on a table. How do you expect to heal a nation when you have brothers killing brothers and sisters killing sisters? Someone needs to have some commonsense in them. While we think of rebuilding, the question on how we got here remains.
CNA – How will change come in a deserted locality?
NJ AYUK– Change will only come through peace and dialogue. Poverty levels in Manyu and the Anglophone communities are so much and the biggest question we should been asking is what have we been doing all these years. No nation as rich as ours should have so many people isolated on islands of poverty while others are living in a sea of material wealth. People are in despair. The poverty is real. The marginalization is real. The frustration is real. Denying it and trying to force people to shut up and think otherwise only deplete us from solving these problems.
NJ AYUK at 173rd OPEC Conference
CNA- Do you think the refugee crisis can be addressed? If yes how?
NJ AYUK– It is difficult, before sending troops in a community you should coordinate with the chiefs and the local leaders. Have a plan to evacuate Internally Displaced Persons. Burning houses in our villages does not resolve anything. It is easy to destroy and it is hard to build. At this stage, I think the parliament or government should do an immediate disbursement of funding to fix the damage done. Manyu people are proud people. Manyu people are ashamed to be called slaves. Their schools are gone. Education is the pride of any Manyu. To see that taken away from so many only saddens you. You are only going to fix the refugee crisis if you have a ceasefire. For the sake of Christmas, it will help if the government immediately withdraw its troops and have a conversation with all parties.
CNA-What Role Can Manyu Elites Play in the Current Crisis?
NJ AYUK– They must reject the shameful tokenism that characterizes the political life of Cameroon society that we see daily. In an Africa where change is inevitable and continuous, we Africans and Cameroonians must achieve that change without violence because it is essential for survival. The brutality and death are bad for all of us. I have relatives who have been victims of this uprising and it is sad. My biggest disappointment has been with the Manyu Elite whom in spite of the huge amounts of death in Manyu, have been shockingly silent of the challenges facing their people. Are the tokens from government worthy of the lives of many?
CNA -Do you think the current state of affairs could have been avoided? If yes why and by whom?
NJ AYUK– Absolutely it could have been avoided. Violence never solves anything. We are no longer in the 1950’s. Leadership should always know that you don’t play with the core governance issues and justice is important. We must not forget that justice is what love looks like in public for Anglophones. What is wrong to have a dialogue with your people who have valid grievances?
You don’t punish people because they disagree with you. I still maintain the position that Government should have had a dialogue with all leaders. We are in 2017 going to 2018; you can’t bully people into compliance. It is a negotiation. The government has not let go any chance to tell the national and international community how she is exploring all the possibilities to come out of this crisis…with dialogue inclusive…do you think there has been dialogue in the first place?
CNA – I followed two analysts who were pessimistic on the return to normalcy with the current regime. They say youths have been radicalized and change of mindset will be one of the biggest challenges for the government, what do you think?
NJ AYUK– I understand the skeptics about young people and the youth. We all want perfect peace and perfect societies. Perfection is unobtainable, but it is the quest for it that makes life worth living. Cameroon will never be the same. The young people today want more and they know deserve more than what the elders are offering. They want to be heard. If given a chance they can do more.
They can overcome radicalization and division. Yes we live in these turbulent times. We are in the midst of an escalating war. Economic reports show that we aren’t producing jobs at the rate we should and private sector is suffering with high taxes, corruption and red tape. Millions of young Cameroonians don’t have health care.
And here in our community children, teenage, youth are senselessly being killed. And yet, despite these trials and tribulations, I know that these same youth whom not giveen a chance are on the precipice of great things – that they are on the verge of triumph and they will honor their duty and create a better future.
When others see turmoil these young people see an opportunity to uplift; when others see conflict they find synthesis; and when others look down on them they stand up. Don’t count them out yet. Sit back and watch.
CNA –Can there be a way out of this crisis?
NJ AYUK– Maybe government should sit and have a conversation with its entire people. Violence only begets violence. We need to be careful about the hate that hate creates. The demographics of the country are young. You need them looking at each other with love and have a sense of dignity and innovation that will lead to building a strong and sustainable nation with fairness, justice and equity.
CNA – What can you say about the working visit of the Commonwealth scribe to Cameroon. Do you think she can press for genuine dialogue that many called for?
NJ AYUK– For me, Scotland can only be persuasive. The question is, are all the actors persuadable. What are the Cameroonian solutions to a uniquely Cameroonian made problem. The commonwealth can only listen, share experiences and advise. Cameroonians have to charter their own route to peace with the help of others and honest brokers. Every day that goes without a roadmap to peace, more people die and more Cameroonians become refugees.
CNA – Thank You for granting us this interview at this critical moment, anything to add?
NJ AYUK– On behalf of Africa Now Foundation, you and I must continue to look forward and work together to hasten the day when you can leave Nigeria or various detention facilities and return back to your own home. You have committed no crime for believing that all of God’s children deserve to be treated with dignity. History is on your side.
May the time soon come when you will be sitting around a dinner table as a family in a place you can truly call your home. Now you are fallen but not forgotten. It is, therefore, with a lighter heart that I am sending you my best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
Interviewed by Mimi MEFO TAKAMBOU
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support Cameroon News Agency on mobile money or call the number for details +237 679 700 696 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.