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For Condemning Federalism: Barrister Tabetando In The Dock Of Anglophone Lawyers 

By Bouddih Adams

The President of the Fako Lawyers Association, FAKLA, Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho, has fired back at statements made by Senator Barrister Chief Tabetando against resolutions arrived at during an the All Anglophone Lawyers Conference that held in Bamenda.

The lawyers had, among other things, requested the Biya Government to attend to their worries, some of which are:

return to the Federal structure for the country as obtained before 1972; protect the Common Law sub-system and respect the bi-jural system; protect the Anglo-Saxon educational system in the Northwest and Southwest Regions and so on.

Sen. Tabetando, as spokesperson for Southwest Senators who visited Limbe on May 26 (The Post No 1630) described the lawyers as ‘manipulators, intruders, insurgents and destabilisers’.

“People should not listen to interpretations from other people thinking that there is a new Cameroon coming, which is different from the present; that there is a new Constitution going to be written by other people from the Diaspora for us. It is not possible,” Sen Tabetando had stated.

Reacting to the statements, FAKLA President, Agbor Nkongho, said:
“It is shocking to hear someone like Barrister Chief Tabetando describe close to 700 lawyers who met in Bamenda as ‘manipulators, intruders, insurgents and destabilisers’.

That is an insult to our intellect, an insult to our persons, to colleagues and to our profession.

For him to describe us in such strong terms, I find it intellectually dishonest on his part.
“If there is one group of persons who manipulate people in this country, it is politicians. And Chief Tabetando is a politician.

They are the ones who have been manipulating people in this country by selling falsehood. They are sycophants, they preach hatred and they are the ones who are deceiving the Head of State by not telling him the truth.

“The call for a Federal structure in Cameroon can never be a call to destabilise. When he says that Cameroon is one and indivisible, for sure, we all know it.

For a Lawyer of his calibre and timber, he should know that the United States of America is a Federal structure but it is one and indivisible.

Canada, Germany and Nigeria are all Federal structures and they are all one and indivisible. For him to think that calling for Federalism is akin to breaking up the country; I think that is the apogee, the height of intellectual dishonesty.

For a lawyer of his calibre, I find that unbelievable,” Agbor Nkongho stated.
“Also condemning our reaction to the imprisonment of two of our colleagues in their office in Tiko, for Tabentando, who is supposed to be a Lawyer to say that, I really wonder what kind of Lawyer Chief Tabetando is.

We are protecting our own. What the Divisional Officer did was wrong; whether in his individual capacity or in his capacity as a DO. Detaining someone in his office; imagine that there was a fire outbreak, or that somebody needed medical attention; would he still say that what the DO did was right? It is not because you are a Senator; you belong to the ruling party that you would not be objective.

Let them stop this sycophancy; this is similar to what Goebbels used to do in Germany. I want to reiterate here that Fako Lawyers will always stand to defend and protect members of our association. No amount of condemnation, no amount of criticism, sycophancy or bootlicking, will stop us from defending members of our association.
“I urge people like Tabetando to have the love for this country.

The love of Cameroon does not necessarily mean that, because you support the Government, everything should only be for the Government.

That is not love. That is hatred for the country. For a Senator who is supposed to be patriotic, he should be the first to condemn the attitude of the DO and should applaud the lawyers who, rather than calling for a strike action; they decided to use the weapon that they know best, to write resolutions, Lawyers are trained to write or to speak to defend their clients.

And we choose writing to bring our grievances to the doorsteps of the Government. That is why we decided to hand our memo to the Prime Minister, to the Minister of Justice and to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, calling their attention to the problems that we, Anglophone Lawyers face in Cameroon.

“I am shocked by Tabetando’s reaction because, we have even Francophone or Civil Law lawyers that empathise with us; because they know the problems we face.

But… well, we shall always have blacklegs; we shall always have sell-outs, like during the time of slavery, the time of colonialism, or during the time of apartheid in South Africa, there were blacklegs who, because of crumbs from the table, they will always side with the oppressor.”

Agbor Nkongho was speaking May 30, shortly after returning from Yaounde where he and his colleagues handed over a copy of their memo to members of Government and some foreign Diplomatic Missions in Cameroon.

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