BSC | AMB: SC Analysis of Independence Quest – Way Forward
Here below is Barrister NSO FON’s advice.
Sept 3, 2017
Since October 2016, we have been respecting a strike action called by the presidents of NOWELA, FAKLA, MELA and MALA. Before the declaration of this strike action, the Common Law Lawyers held conference on the 09/5/2015 and 13/2/2016 in Bamenda and Buea respectively where resolutions and declarations were arrived at.
One of the resolutions arrived at in the Bamenda conference was the call for Cameroon to return to the 1961 Federal system of government. In the Buea conference a Declaration was made wherein we recalled and emphasized that the Common Law juridico-cultural system in Cameroon has experienced a mischievously programmed and sustained erosion to the present point of near extinction; and it is undoubted that this predicament arises unequivocally, from the non-implementation of United Nations Resolution 1608 (XV) of the 21/4/1961 on the future of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration and the dishonest manipulation of Southern/West Cameroonians into an illegal Union that created an enabling environment for an organized eradication of the Common law juridico-cultural heritage of the Southern/West Cameroon(s).
We then committed ourselves resolutely to seek by every legal means a correction of the source of endangerment of our Common law juridico-legal cultural heritage through invocation and strict implementation of United Nations resolution 1608 (XV); and we also called on Her Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Secretary General of the United Nations to proceed with overseeing the implementation of the above cited Resolution 1608(XV).
CONSORTIUM => Governing Council
Our leaders latter brought in civil society organizations in the equation and they formed a consortium under which platform, they started negotiations with LRC and received yet undisclosed various sums of monies as transport allowances from government officials. Negotiations later failed and some of our leaders were arrested while others are on self exile. We now witness the respect of ghost towns with some of us, especially those abroad, calling for the restoration of the statehood of Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia with its flag. The leader of its Governing Council has been elected and students risk not going to school for another year.
Where are we and which way forward at present? It should be recalled that I brought in the issue of UN General Assembly Res 1608 of 21/4/1961 on the future of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration in our deliberations in Bamenda and Buea in 2015 and 2016 respectively. All attempts to make colleagues understand the proper interpretation of the said UN Res 1608 failed and we rather requested for a Federal system of government, redeployment of Civil Law trained Magistrates from the NW and SW Regions etc and even started negotiating with the government. As a democrat, I was forced in the circumstances to associate myself with the voice of the majority.
As legal minds, we need to base our arguments and actions on solid legal foundation. When there is a problem and it is properly analyzed, the next issue for determination is to consider who are the parties associated with the problem. Finally, we have to determine the court that has jurisdiction to determine the matter. Only after all these, can we prepare our pleadings to file in the appropriate court.
What is therefore the problem we have as anglophones? I honestly think the root cause of our problem is the non implementation of UN General Assembly Res 1608 of 21/4/1961 on the future of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration. To better understand this, we have to read and understand the Trusteeship Agreement that the United Kingdom signed with the UN on the 13/12/1946 to administer us as a UN Trust Territory. UN Res 1608 of 21/4/1961 prescribed the conditions precedent for the Trusteeship Agreement between the United Kingdom and the UN dated 13/12/1946 to come to an end. If UN Res 1608 of 21/4/1961 was never implemented as it was the case before 01/10/1961, the Former Cameroons under UK Trusteeship remains a United Nations Trust territory in International Law despite the fact that it is currently being administered by LRC.
If a flag must be used, following UN General Assembly Res 325(IV) of 15/11/1949 on the use of the flag of the United Nations in Trust Territories, it is the United Nations flag that is to be flown in all UN Trust territories (including the NW and SW regions of Cameroon) and not the Ambazonian flag which I consider to be an illegal flag because it has no legal justification. Ambazonia is also an illegal name as it has no legal justification. We should not arrogate to ourselves a name and a flag that we cannot justify in national and International Law. The continuous use of the name “AMBAZONIA” and its flag will only make a bad case worst. If we started striking, respecting ghost towns and boycotting Courts and calling on our children not to go to school until the United Nations will come and solve the problems she created in 1961, it would have made more meaning to me. But that was not the case.
GHOST TOWNS, NO SCHOOL vs IMPLEMENTATION of UNGA 1608 of April 4, 1961
When we started striking and calling on the government of LRC to provide us with inter alia, a Federal system of government and deploy Common Law trained Magistrates to our courts etc, it presupposes that we acknowledged the legality of the government of LRC in the former British Southern Cameroons. In this respect, we are bound to respect law and order as prescribed by LRC. It is therefore uncalled for that we continue to respect ghost towns and call on our children not to go to school while at the same time, acknowledging the legality of the government of LRC over the former British Southern Cameroons. If our focus is on the non implementation of UN General Assembly Res 1608 of 21/4/1961 on the future of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration, then the legality of past and present actions of LRC over the former British Southern Cameroons is challenged and must be addressed urgently by the appropriate jurisdiction.
Who are the parties involved in our problem? I honestly think that the United Kingdom and the United Nations are the principal parties associated with our problem and not LRC whom I consider to be only an accessory. It is the UK and the UNO that handed the former British Southern Cameroons to LRC. I consider LRC as a bona fide purchaser who is now accused of having bought a stolen item in an open market, the United Nations. That is why we declared in Buea and called upon Her Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom and the Secretary General of the United Nations to proceed with overseeing the implementation of the above cited Resolution 1608(XV).
NO REASON FOR DIALOGUE WITH LRC
We should therefore not blame LRC to the extend we are doing. There is a presumption of legality of the administration of LRC over the southern part of the former British Cameroons. There is even no reason for any dialogue with LRC. It is the UNO that can enter into any meaningful dialogue with LRC after solving the problems she created in 1961 and thereafter dialogue with LRC on the modalities of her withdrawal from the southern part of the former British Cameroons.
UNGA RES 1608 EXCERPTS
For better understanding, I will reproduce paragraphs 4 and 5 of UN General Assembly Res 1608(XV) on the future of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration;
4. Decides that, the plebiscites having been taken separately with differing results, the Trusteeship Agreement of 13/12/1946 concerning the Cameroons under United Kingdom administration shall be terminated, in accordance with Article 76 b of the Charter of the United Nations and in agreement with the Administering Authority in the following manner;
a). With respect to the Northern Cameroons, on 1 June 1961, upon its joining the Federation of Nigeria as a separate province of the Northern Region of Nigeria.
b). With respect to the Southern Cameroons, on 1 October 1961, upon its joining the Republic of Cameroun;
5. Invites the Administering Authority, the Government of the Southern Cameroons and the Republic of Cameroun to initiate urgent discussions with a view to finalizing, before 1 October 1961, the arrangements by which the agreed and declared policies of the parties concerned will be implemented.
It is rather unfortunate that despite the fact that late President Ahmadu Ahidjo organized the Foumban Conference from the 17 to 21 July 1961 in respect of paragraph 5 of UN Res 1608 of 21/4/1961 to finalize the arrangements by which the agreed and declared policies of the parties will be implemented, Britain, the Administering Authority, was not there. Secondly, there was no agreed and declared policy of the parties. The agreed and declared policies of the parties ought to have been made in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations. Paragraph 5 of UN Res 1608 of 21/4/1961 not having been respected, the Parliament of LRC amended their Constitution on achievement of independence on the 01/01/1960 and incorporated the Southern part of the former British Cameroons as their territory and on the 30/9/1961, the then British Ambassador to LRC, in an exchange of notes with late President Ahmadu Ahidjo, authorized late President Ahmadu Ahidjo to extend the administration of LRC to the southern part of the former British Cameroons on the 01/10/1961 which he did.
The United Nations has been very quiet over this illegality since the 01/10/1961 till date. It is my humble opinion that it is Britain and the United Nations that are directly responsible for our present problems and we should leave LRC alone. Our initial demands are political and within the political setup of LRC. It should be noted that LRC voted against UN Res 1608 of 21/4/1961 and Britain and the UNO forced her into the southern part of the former British Cameroons. LRC therefore benefits from a presumption of legality over the southern part of the former British Cameroons until that legality will be reversed by the General Assembly of the UNO. LRC will never leave the southern part of the former British Cameroons which she considers as an integral part of her territory until ordered by a UN Resolution rectifying and regularizing UN General Assembly Res 1608 of 21/4/1961.
NO COURT … ONLY THE UNGA
Which Court has jurisdiction to resolve our problem? The non implementation of UN General Assembly Res 1608 of 21/4/1961 can only be rectified and regularized by the General Assembly of the United Nations and not LRC. As it is the General Assembly of the UNO that has exclusive jurisdiction to resolve the matter, why then do we disturb the economic and political set up of LRC as well as ourselves especially when we respect ghost towns, destroy our properties and refuse our children from going to school. The General Assembly of the UNO starts on the 12th of September 2017 and our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora have promised to be there with our issue. We should therefore focus our attention on that and stop chasing the shadows here. While there, the name “Ambazonia” and its flag will make a bad case worst. The name “Former British (Southern) Cameroons” and the UN flag should be used henceforth.
FREEDOM FIGHTERS or SECESSIONISTS
The UN will readily react positively in an area where its flag which is also its emblem (following UN General Assembly Res 92(1) of the 07/12/1946 on the official seal and emblem of the UN) is used than to an area where we permit her to use the principle of Territorial Sovereignty to justify her inaction. When we attack the United Nations, UN General Assembly Res 3103(XXVIII) of 12/12/1973 on the basic principles concerning the legal status of persons fighting against colonial and foreign domination and of racist regimes will protect us as FREEDOM FIGHTERS. On the other hand, if we attack and destabilize the economic and political set up of LRC, we may be associated with secession and inciting insurrection in LRC.
SOLID LEGAL FOUNDATION
With our leaders having been released, it is therefore high time we re-examine our thoughts and strategies and base our arguments and actions on solid legal foundation. We should remember that if one builds a house on a bad foundation, that house may eventually collapse and even kill him/her inside. If today we accuse late John Ngu Foncha and S.T. Muna for having put us where we are uncomfortable, we shall receive a bigger accusation tomorrow if as legal minds, we are unable to properly analyze the problem and prescribe appropriate solutions to it. The blood of those who have been killed as a result of their respecting the calls of Lawyers whom they considered as learned men who are all knowing, will continuously hunt us if we plunge the Anglophones to a worst situation than what late J.N. Foncha and S.T. Muna did to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
Barrister Robert NSO FON. September 2017.
In God I Trust.
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