56 Years after Referendum, Southern Cameroun Calls for Independence 

By Paul Obi in Abuja

Fifty six years after a referendum and plebiscite was organised for the English speaking Southern Cameroun to join others to form the nation, the region yesterday in Abuja said it seeks for the restoration of independence.

The referendum held on the 11th February, 1961 was for the Southern Cameroun to decide whether to join the former British colony of Nigeria or the former French colony of Cameroun.

The referendum through a United Nations (UN) resolution 1608 enacted a two nation-state, where the Southern Cameroun and the La Rèpublique du Cameroun exist side by side.

There are six million registered Nigerians in next door Cameroon with about 2 million of them in the English speaking region at risk with the impending crisis.

But speaking to journalists in Abuja, Southern Camerounians in Nigeria said the government of former President Ahmadou Ahidjo turned round to impose a federal constitution on the people of Southern Cameroun.

In a communique presented to the media and signed by Dr. Cornelius Kwanga, Sisiki Ayuk Tabe and Dr. Fidelis Ndeh-Che said the patience of Southern Cameroun had been stretched to the limit.

They stressed that restoring independence of the Southern Cameroun “will avert an impending disaster, waste of human life and valuable economic resources. This would be the inevitable consequence of an outbreak of violence.

“We want the restoration of Independence and Sovereignty of the Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) according to UN Resolutions and Articles. UN experiment of Independence by joining has failed

“The people of the Southern Cameroons feel, and rightly so, that they have reached the limit of trying to get the annexationist government of La République du Cameroun to resolve their crisis amicably through frank dialogue.

“Each time our people have stood up to protest against worsening conditions, the only response from the Yaoundé Administration has been excessive brutality by the supposed forces of law and order.”

They said: “These people in uniform are sent to our territory where they systematically torture, rape, maim and abduct our people to detention centres in locations in French speaking Cameroon, far away from their families.

“As a start, we want to inform the world that SCACUF has called for a complete boycott of the 20th May celebrations in the Republic of Cameroun and all subsequent festivities in their region.

“The date of 20th May coincidentally is the birthday of Germain Ahidjo, wife of the first President of the Republic of Cameroon.”

They added that “our people have been provoked and humiliated beyond breaking point and reserve the exclusive and legally recognised and protected right to self-defense and self-determination.

“It is our contention that liberty has no prize and the blood of our population already slain by the forces of La Republique du Cameroun cannot go in vain.

“Our population has become very restive and we call on the international community to hold the government of La Republique du Cameroun fully responsible for any outbreak of violence due to their continued provocation of our people and pillage of our resources.

“We seem to have no choice than to take up our responsibilities and defend our native land accordingly.

“We are further stating that Southern Cameroonians as a peace loving people have opted for non-violent resistance against 56 years of servitude, economic and cultural genocide by boycotting the courts and schools of the oppressor for eight months.

“Is this not enough sacrifice to be made by a people to warrant the UNO to step in forcefully? Or do we really have to get to the level of the pogrom before the UN and international community heed the plea of our people? Whither preventive diplomacy?”

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