Monthly Archives: April 2015

Two brothers arrested for wildlife trafficking

A team from the forestry and wildlife control post in Manjo in the Moungo Division working in collaboration with the gendarmerie brigade arrested two wildlife traffickers for illegal possession and commercialization of chimpanzee skulls as the pair sat down conducting business negotiations on March 24, 2015. The operation was technically assisted by The Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA).
Ngale Jean Jerome aged 41 and Moto Joel aged 30 travelled from Mangamba, took up lodging in Manjo the day before their arrest. They came along with 4 chimpanzee skulls they had collected from a poacher, they would later explain, which they intended to sell. As the car transporting the arresting team stopped near the house where business was going on, a visibly panic stricken pair shot out startled looks and scrambled to their feet while the team alighted from the car and stepped forward. One of team members would position himself outside and blocked the entrance to the house. A short and quick exchange of questions and answers ensued and they were asked to open the bag which they did. An inquisitive onlooker shot a question to the team of officers on what was the content of the bag and on what had happened but received stern looking faces as the pair were dragged into the car. Inside the bag, 4 chimpanzee skulls were found.
Investigators say before the arrest, the wildlife traffickers had consulted a soothsayer to determine whether the business was going to be successful and void of any risk of being arrested They were told them to go ahead. This is not the first instance traffickers are consulting a soothsayer before engaging business. In 2014 a leopard skin trafficker was arrested in Dschang for illegal commercialization of a leopard skin but on the morning before his arrest, he would consult a witch doctor to find out if the business would be successful. Traffickers seem to understand they are at risk of being arrested because the activity is illegal and so they want to decipher any signs of danger lurking.
It was later discovered that the two were brothers and the prosecution process was started by the drawing of an offence statement by the chief of the Manjo forestry and wildlife control post. The case was later forwarded to the state counsel’s chambers in Nkongsamba. A satisfied forestry and wildlife control post chief, Dikongue explained what happened. “We surprised them as they were selling these chimpanzee skulls, we took them to the wildlife post where we drew an offence statement and forwarded the case to the state counsel”
Chimpanzee are mostly killed for their meat but the sales of heads and limbs including skulls which may be considered as trophies and used for traditional medicinal concoctions also is driving the species to extinction and the wildlife chief laments that “here [Manjo] when you ask people in the villages around, they would tell you that back in the days chimps were seen close [to their villages] and we know the important role chimps and other animals play in the ecosystem but they becoming rarer which is a problem” and he says”the law must be applied to discourage this practice”. And experts believe this should be very timely and effective as chimp populations in the country are in danger of extinction. According to new research published in BMC Evolutionary Biology.the most endangered chimp, the Cameroon Nigeria chimpanzee, is close to extinction and its population stands at 6000. Reasons given for this state of affairs include deforestation, expanding agriculture and human settlements, and illegal poaching and bushmeat trade. Cameroon is also host to the central chimpanzee that is also found in Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has an estimated population of 115 000 and it is considered to be the largest chimpanzee population

Eric Kaba



Paul Biya honore les soldats

Des décrets du président de la République attribuent la médaille de la vaillance à plus de 400 d’entre eux qui se sont distingués au combat.
Ils sont officiers supérieurs, officiers, sous-officiers, militaires de rang en service au sein du Bataillon d’intervention rapide (BIR) et dans les autres unités des forces de défense du Cameroun. Ils se sont notamment distingués par leur abnégation, leur patriotisme et leur détermination à défendre l’intégrité territoriale du Cameroun dans le cadre de la guerre contre la secte islamiste Boko Haram et sur d’autres parties du territoire national. Ces hommes viennent d’être distingués par le président de la République, chef des Armées. En effet, trois décrets signés hier attribuent la médaille de la vaillance à ces valeureux soldats. Ce sont environ 406 personnels, tous grades confondus, qui ont ainsi été distingués par le chef de l’Etat, chef des Armées.
Les 128 sous-officiers ont, pour leur part, « conduit en tant que chef de poste ou de patrouille, avec détermination et bravoure, plusieurs -combats ayant permis de repousser les assauts des membres du groupe terroriste Boko Haram, sauvegardant ainsi l’intégrité du territoire national… » Quant aux militaires de rang, les plus nombreux, 240 personnes, le texte de citation indique que « par leur courage, leur abnégation et leur détermination ont activement contribué à repousser plusieurs assauts des membres du groupe terroriste Boko Haram, sauvegardant ainsi l’intégrité du territoire national… »
Il faut indiquer que la médaille de la vaillance fait partie des distinctions prévues dans le cadre de l’ordonnance N°72/24 du 30 novembre 1972 portant organisation des Ordres nationaux et de la Grande chancellerie de la République du Cameroun. Il s’agit « de récompenser les actes exceptionnels de bravoure accomplis par les membres des forces publiques » du Cameroun. Cette distinction peut donc être conférée de façon exceptionnelle « à toute personne ayant accompli un acte de bravoure au cours d’opérations de guerre ou de maintien de l’ordre quelles que soient ses fonctions ou sa nationalité. » Les différents décrets du président de la République, chef des Armées sont d’ailleurs suffisamment explicites sur les actes posés par ces soldats dans le cadre de la guerre que notre pays mène contre la secte islamiste Boko Haram. Par ces différents actes, le président de la République a tenu à distinguer ces hommes qui œuvrent en ce moment, parfois au péril de leurs vies, à la protection de l’intégrité du territoire national dans la partie septentrionale du Cameroun.

Cameroon Tribune



Sanctions Loom Over CPDM MPs For Demanding Dual Nationality Law

By Yerima Kini Nsom

The hierarchy of the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, CPDM, is contemplating sanctions on some of its Members of Parliament, MPs, for asking President Paul Biya to table a bill that would legalise double nationality in Cameroon.

The demand of the MPs is contained in a petition the MPs sent to the President of the Republic recently. The Post learnt that a majority of the over 100 MPs who signed the petition are of the CPDM Parliamentary Group. According to the law on nationality, once a Cameroonian acquires the nationality of another country he or she must lose that of his country of origin.

Cameroonians in the Diaspora and pro-democracy activists have been calling for abrogation of such an obnoxious provision. It was in this respect that the MPs of all the political parties represented at the National Assembly wrote a petition to the President of the Republic, asking him to table a bill that will give a veneer of legality to double nationality.

But The Post learnt that the CPDM hierarchy received the petition with acrimony. According to sources at the National Assembly, the CPDM Chair, President Paul Biya took great exception to the fact that a majority of those who signed the petition are members of his own party. Our source, who is one of those who signed the document, said the CPDM hierarchy is raising hell, threatening to mete out exemplary sanctions on them.

It is reported that the CPDM hierarchy had prepared warnings to all its MPs who signed the petition but its Parliamentary Group leader, Bernard Ndongo Essomba, sensed danger and tactfully avoided serving them the document. Our sources noted that the President is said to have been very angry that they expect him to slam sanctions on them at any moment from now.

The petition which was titled: “The MPs Call on the Nation,” was spearheaded by the CPDM MP for the Ntem Valley Constituency, Hon. Emmanuel Mbiam and the SDF MP for the Momo Constituency, Hon. Joseph Mbah Ndam. Both MPs are also lawyers. The MPs argued that Cameroon’s Nationality Code adopted since June 11, 1968 is obsolete and needs to be amended to match with the current socio-political, economic and cultural dispensation in the country.

While commenting on the petition, Hon. Mbiam told journalists that its content represents the aspirations and wishes of Cameroonian citizens. Article 25 of the Constitution of Cameroon empowers MPs to table private member’s bill at the National Assembly.

But the MPs said given the doom that private member’s bills have always met in the house, they were rather encouraging the President of the Republic to table the bill. They said they were motivated by the fact that the President promised to table such a bill when he met with the Cameroonian Diaspora in France in 2009.

The President first made the promise in 2010, when an inter-ministerial delegation met with representatives of the Cameroonian Diaspora. Cameroonians are actually calling for the abrogation of article 31 of Cameroon’s Nationality Code. It stipulates that once a citizen acquires the nationality of another country, he or she instantly loses the Cameroonian nationality.

After acquiring the right to vote, Cameroonians in the Diaspora are battling to have a veneer of legality on dual nationality. According to Hon. Mbiam, the legalisation of double nationality will enable more Cameroonian citizens in the Diaspora to contribute their own quota to nation building. He said the petition dated December 4, 2014 is a positive move which should not be misinterpreted by anybody.

In November 2014, the SDF Parliamentary Group tabled a private member’s bill on the legalisation of double nationality. Yet, the majority of CPDM MPS despatched the bill to the dust bin by roundly rejecting it. Many Cameroonians in the Diaspora have expressed bitter ordeals they have gone through because double nationality is illegal in Cameroon.

One of them, who acquired the American (USA) nationality 15 years ago, said he was not able to attend the funeral of his parents because the Cameroonian Embassy refused to give him a visa.

Cameroon Post



Suspected Marijuana Dealers Arrested

ndian hemp weighing about 100kgs was impounded by the gendarmes in Biyem-Assi last week.

A gang of Indian hemp dealers was arrested by gendarmes of the Biyem-Assi Gendarmerie Brigade recently in Yaounde. Reports say a 16 year-old lad whose name was got as Toukou who deals with Indian hemp was caught selling marijuana on March 11, 2015 in Yaounde. According to the report, Toukou told the gendarmes that he buys the drug from a famous dealer called Ndenle Ngeumba Arnold alias “Daddy”. On the same day when the gendarmes went to daddy’s home, his wife, Ngono Marie threw a bundle of Indian hemp over a fence but the gendarmes were able to find it. Both of them were arrested.
In order to proceed with the case, the procurer ordered for the immediate arrest of Daddy. Daddy was arrested on March 24, 2015 in a room in Acacia in the Biyem-Assi neighbourhood at 11:00 p.m. Daddy told the gendarmes that he buys the marijuana from his supplier called Sergio but whose real name is Sanin Simon and lives in the Elig-Edjoa neighbourhood. On Thursday March 26, 2015 Sanin Simon was arrested in Elig-Edjoa with 204 packages of marijuana. When he was arrested, he told the gendarmes that he had a supplier who lives in Batcham near Mbouda in the West Region called “Mbom” but whose real name in Singne Roger.
Sanin then told the gendarmes that he had an appointment with Singne Roger the following day Friday March 27, 2015 in Yaounde. On that Friday instead of Singne coming for the appointment he sent his wife, Matsasse Anne with a bag of marijuana weighing about 40kgs. Following gendarmerie investigations, an ambush at the Emana Borne Fontaine where she alighted, Anne was arrested. In all, the quantity of marijuana impounded weighs about 100kgs. A source at the Gendarmeries Brigade said the majority of marijuana found in Yaounde comes from the West Region. The suspects were expected to be taken to court yesterday April 1, 2015.

Cameroon Tribune



Man Behind Edea Ivory Trafficking Slammed Prison Sentence

The man behind an ivory tusk trafficking incident that grabbed the public’s attention last year has been sentenced to one year imprisonment. Nourou Abdouraman was arrested in Edea for illegal possession of 30 elephant tusks and the Edea Court of First Instance pronounced the court ruling on March 11, 2015 that also ordered him to pay damages and fines of over 44 million francs. TV viewers in Cameroon were glued to their screens one May evening in 2014 as images of the seizure of 30 ivory tusks were broadcast over one of country’s leading private television channels. The suspect behind the ivory haul was arrested by the gendarmerie in Edea through the efforts of a bus driver.
The driver had discovered that he was transporting illegal ivory after a luggage fell from the boot of his bus that had flung open during the drive from Yaounde to Douala. Ivory tusks were found protruding from the luggage that had fallen off the bus and on closer inspection the driver and a custom officer who was among the passengers confirmed that the content was ivory. Without telling anybody what the matter was, the driver calmly drove the bus to the gendarmerie motorized brigade in Edea where the trafficker was duly identified and arrested. Wildlife officials would be brought in as procedure demands and a prosecution process was begun with the drawing of an offence sentence. The Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA) was also contacted for technical assistance. The organization has been collaborating with MINFOF since 2003 in the domain of wildlife law enforcement.
It was revealed that further investigations into the activity of the ivory trafficker equally showed that he was well connected to other suspects and at one point during his arrest, he emitted and received over 200 telephone calls just within 3 hours from people who were suspected to be his accomplices. It was gathered from the investigators on the matter that he maintained a tight-lip on the identity of the persons.
The case that withstood severe corruption attempts was finally brought to court and after over one year of court hearings and adjournments, the court convicted the trafficker for illegally killing totally protected wildlife species and slammed a 1-year imprisonment term according to 1994 wildlife that stipulates that anyone found guilty of illegal possession of a protected wildlife species shall be sentenced to a prison term that can be from 1 to 3 years.
A defiant and very committed wildlife official, the Sanaga Maritime divisional delegate of forestry and wildlife, Hyachinthe Etienne Nlegue, who was very combative during the process and present at the various court sessions representing his ministry declared that, “the sentence was the least we expected and this demonstrates government’s strong political will to shut out wildlife trafficking which is orchestrated by some individuals. We are sending a strong message to wildlife traffickers, the public and to the international community that our government is making sure that wildlife trafficking is stopped”. Experts say governments’ commitment in fighting wildlife crime is going to be a deciding factor for the future of the African elephant.
Ivory trafficking has witnessed an exponential growth over the last few decades and this is being blamed on rising Asian economies and it emergent newly rich middle class who stop at nothing to display their newly found wealth through expensive elephant ivory chopsticks, hairpins, trinkets and many accessories made from ivory. The demand has been fanning the illegal trade in ivory which is gotten from the slaughtering of elephants on the African continent. It is estimated that the population of the African forest elephant that live in countries in the sub region including Cameroon has fallen by 62% between 2002 and 2011 and if nothing is done to stop this trend the elephant would soon be facing extinction.
Photo: Seized ivory, elephants may become extinct.

Eric Kaba



Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan: Five reasons why he lost

Nigerians are so used to the idea that an incumbent should win presidential elections that President Goodluck Jonathan’s failure to beat Gen Muhammadu Buhari needs some explaining. Here are five reasons why the opposition won:

1: Harder to rig
Past elections have been marred by serious irregularities and suspicions of rigging. In 2007 observers said the presidential poll was not “credible”. In 2011 the vote was considered to be better run but observers said that rigging and fraud still took place.
This time the electoral commission took more steps to prevent rigging, including new biometric voters cards.
Also President Jonathan’s party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), had lost control of some key states which meant it could not control the electoral process there.
line.

2: Boko Haram and security
The election took place against the background of an Islamist insurgency in the north-east of the country. The Boko Haram militant group has killed 20,000 people and forced some three million others from their homes and President Jonathan was criticised for not getting to grips with this.
The poll was delayed for six weeks to give time for the security situation to improve, but even though most areas controlled by Boko Haram were recaptured, it seems to have come too late for many people.

3: United opposition, crumbling PDP
The PDP has been described as an election-winning machine. When it was created it united a northern elite with leading politicians from the south, but that alliance has broken up and the party lost some key figures. Even former President Olusegun Obasanjo came out against Mr Jonathan.
At the same time, the opposition managed to unite under the All Progressives Congress (APC) banner. The last six weeks of desperate and dirty campaigning, in which the APC responded in kind, was not enough to turn the tide.

4: Economy
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and its largest economy, but many fail to feel the benefits with nearly half the population living below the poverty line. Continued corruption is seen as partly being to blame.
National income is due to grow by more than 5% this year and next year, but people did not seem in the mood to thank Mr Jonathan for this.

5: Time for a change
PC supporters chanted “change” wherever they went and it seems to have caught the mood. The PDP has been in power since the end of military rule in 1999, and 2015 is the year that Nigerians decided that someone else should have a go at sorting things out.
President-elect Buhari now has to prove he really can change things.

BBC News



Nigeria’s Buhari praises Jonathan for peaceful handover

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian election winner Muhammadu Buhari congratulated outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan for peacefully relinquishing power on Wednesday, a day after becoming the first Nigerian politician to unseat a sitting leader at the ballot box.

In an unprecedented step, Jonathan phoned Buhari to concede defeat and issued a statement urging his supporters to accept the result, a signal of deepening democracy in Africa’s most populous nation that few had expected.

“President Jonathan was a worthy opponent and I extend the hand of fellowship to him,” Buhari told journalists and supporters to loud applause, wearing a black cap and kaftan.

“We have proven to the world that we are people who have embraced democracy. We have put one-party state behind us.”

The 72-year-old general, who first came to power three decades ago via a military coup, campaigned as a born-again democrat intent on cleaning up the corrupt politics of Africa’s most populous nation.

The margin of victory – Buhari got 15.4 million votes to Jonathan’s 13.3 million – was enough to prevent any challenge.

The rules state he must officially hand over on May 29.

Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been in charge since the end of army rule in 1999 but had been losing support due to several oil sector corruption scandals and killings by Islamist militants in the northeast.

“You voted for change and now change has come,” Buhari said.

Cities in the largely Muslim north, where Buhari’s core support base lies, erupted in celebration.

Jonathan’s appeal to his supporters that “nobody’s political ambition is worth blood” meanwhile helped calm their frustrations, reducing the chance of post-election violence that blighted the 2011 poll.

Despite the killing of more than a dozen voters by Boko Haram gunmen – who had pledge to derail the poll – the election was one of the most orderly in the country’s history.

Buhari took power in a 1983 coup only to be thrown out 18 months later by another general. He subsequently embraced democracy, running in several elections and despite losing always bounced back.

He acknowledged the hard work ahead in building bridges.

“I asked that we all be circumspect, respectful and peaceful … We must begin to heal the wounds,” he said.

Oil-rich Nigeria remains a complex ethnic mix of 170 million people speaking more than 500 languages, split between Muslims and Christians. Though they mostly live side by side in peace, many harbour disputes that politicians have often used to stoke violence that has worsened over the years.

As well as the Boko Haram insurgency Buhari must deal with the fallout from a dive in global oil prices in the last eight months which has hammered squeezed state revenues and forced two de facto currency devaluations.

Reuters



Nigeria election: Muhammadu Buhari wins presidency

Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari has become the first opposition candidate to win a presidential election in Nigeria.
Gen Buhari beat incumbent Goodluck Jonathan by more than 2.5 million votes, final results showed.
Mr Jonathan telephoned his rival to concede defeat. Gen Buhari’s supporters took to the streets to celebrate.
Observers have generally praised the election, though there have been allegations of fraud.
Election results as they happened
“I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word,” Mr Jonathan said in a statement.
He said he had conveyed his “best wishes” to Mr Buhari, and urged “those who may feel aggrieved to follow due process… in seeking redress”.
Celebrations
A spokesman for Gen Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) party praised Mr Jonathan, saying: “He will remain a hero for this move. The tension will go down dramatically.”
Gen Buhari’s supporters have celebrated by dancing and singing in the streets in APC strongholds, including the northern cities of Kano and Kaduna.
Nigeria’s electoral commission officially declared the 72-year-old general the winner of the presidential election early on Wednesday morning.
The APC won 15,424,921 votes and Mr Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gained 12,853,162 votes.
Gen Buhari’s victory is a hugely significant moment in Nigeria’s turbulent history. Never before has a sitting president been defeated in an election.
Since independence from Britain in 1960, there have been numerous coups and most elections have been rigged. Of course in a close election there will be many voters who are not pleased with this outcome but the whole process is a sign that democracy is deepening in Nigeria.
The poll has once again brought to the surface dangerous religious and regional differences and there is still a threat of violence.
The man who has been voted out, Goodluck Jonathan, has played a huge part today in trying to prevent that. He made the phone call when there would no doubt have been some in his camp who would have preferred to dig their heels in.
The APC issued a statement after the result was announced, calling for “calm, sober celebrations” and warning supporters not to attack opponents.
“He or she is not with me, whoever does that,” the president-elect said.
He is due to give a speech later on Wednesday.
The former military ruler dominated the country’s north-western states, which have suffered most from attacks by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
In Borno state, one of the worst-affected by Islamist violence, Gen Buhari won 94% of the vote.
It is the fourth time that Gen Buhari, 72, has sought the presidency.
He ruled Nigeria from January 1984 until August 1985, taking charge after a military coup in December 1983.
Mr Jonathan had led Nigeria since 2010, initially as acting leader before winning elections in 2011.
Nigeria has suffered from several attacks by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has killed thousands of people in its drive to establish an Islamic state.
Many voters have said that they believe Gen Buhari is better positioned to defeat Boko Haram.
The verdict on Mr Buhari’s 20 months as military ruler is mixed.
The European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, congratulated Gen Buhari on his victory, saying she “looked forward to working with” him.

BBC News