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War Against Boko Haram: MPs Rally Behind President, Military

armee-camerounaiseA special sitting of the National Assembly held yesterday, November 27, 2014, to show solidarity for the war on terror.

Members of Parliament, MPs, from the seven political parties in the National Assembly yesterday, November 27, 2014, expressed their appreciation to President Paul Biya and the military for their efforts in safeguarding the country from cross-border incursions by armed gangs from the Central African Republic, CAR, and Boko Haram militants from Nigeria.

Dubbed “Special sitting on the war against insecurity and terrorism,’ the session that was chaired by House Speaker, Hon. Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, was also attended by Senate President, Marcel Niat Njifenji, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang, the Chief Justice, Dipanda Mouelle, cabinet ministers and foreign diplomats. Describing the event as the first-ever in the annals of the National Assembly, Hon. Cavaye explained that it was an initiative of the MPs to support the President’s anti-terror efforts and also pay homage to fallen soldiers as well as their families.

The Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, took to the rostrum to explain the origins and objectives of Boko Haram. He attributed the recurrent attacks on Cameroonian territory, among others, on pressure by the Nigerian military and porous borders. He said the change in strategy by the Cameroon military and the deployment of 6,000 men in the Far North, was paying off.  

On his part, the Delegate General for National Security, Martin Mbarga Nguele, recounted how the insecurity created by Boko Haram had virtually destroyed the economy of the Far North Region, with many schools shut down, farms abandoned and prices of basic commodities skyrocketing as a result of the absence of any cross-border trade with Nigeria. He announced the recruitment in the coming days of 4,700 policemen to beef up security across the country, promising that the same number will be taken in 2015.

Similarly, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, told the lawmakers that the conflicts in Nigeria and CAR had raised the refugee population in the country to 267,000. He gave graphic details of how people in the Far North Region were living in constant fear of Boko Haram.

With the displacement caused by the crisis, famine was now looming in some parts of the Far North Region, he said. Among the measures to tackle the problem, he announced that government and partners are to initiate poverty alleviation programmes in affected areas and provide food aid to the people.

Giving a harrowing account of the situation on the ground, Hon. Sali Dairou, said the Limani Customs Post that used to fetch about FCFA 700 million a month, had been shut down and the staff moved to the regional headquarters, Maroua because of insecurity. All Cameroonian herdsmen who recently went to sell their cattle in Mubi, Adamawa State of Nigeria, were killed when Boko Haram militants attacked the town. Their animals worth billions of FCFA were all lost, Hon. Sali Dairou explained.

Honorables Ndongo Essomba of the CPDM, Joseph Banadzem of the SDF, Hamadou Adji for UNDP, Tomaino Ndam Njoya for UDC, Bapooh Lipot for UPC, Laoussou Pierre of the MDR and Lazare Soub for MRC, all praised the military and Head of State for their war efforts. At the end, MPs read out two messages of appreciation and encouragement to the military and President Paul Biya.

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