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Released SCNC Activist Slams Gov’t For Illogical Arrest 

By Andrew Nsoseka

Activist spotting T-shirt with Southern Cameroons map

Activist spotting T-shirt with Southern Cameroons map

One of the 15 detained SCNC activists who were released, Valentine Nke, has asserted that the Government made a fundamental error in arresting and detaining them.

Valentine Nke, Secretary General of Teachers Association of Cameroon, TAC, made the observation while sharing his experience at the Buea Central Prison in an exclusive interview with The Post.

Nke also recounted their ordeal in detention, what enjoyed as well as those things which he said should better be left unsaid.

“It was a monumental error on the part of the State of Cameroun, which played to our advantage and it is part of God’s plan for our course,” Nke said smiling.

“The news of our arrival; that they had brought some SCNC activists into the prison went round like wildfire. We discovered that there was a lot of ignorance about our course among prisoners, but we sensitised them.

Many of the prisoners learned about the course for the first time, and even the guards who first treated us badly became very compliant at the end, when we took time and educated them on our course. We considered our detention as a blessing,” he said.

On the treatment given to them on arrival, Nke he said: “We were taken to the Yard Master and they stripped us right to the dross; removed everything, especially money and they didn’t give it back when I was leaving.

The attention that we had was unprecedented … the life there is just like life on daily bases, apart from the discomfort and living conditions.

If you get inside there, you will think that it is a shopping mall, everything was there, but very expensive.

But you could have things done for you very cheap. You could iron a shirt and trouser for FCFA 25 or 50 and with a cup of garri, you could have quite a lot done for you by the ever-ready inmates,” he narrated.
On accommodation, he said he it depended on one’s pocket.

“We were introduced to the prisoners and we had to comply or else they can maltreat you because once you are locked, the warder has absolutely nothing to do with you and you are at the mercy of the inmates,” he averred.

He held that the inmates have their own administration and laws that are strictly followed and that those who go against the laws are punished with about 50 lashes of the cane on the buttocks or souls of their feet.

They taxed us, I paid transfer tax of FCFA 10,000 for a bed and in the end, my expenditure amounted to about FCFA 22,500; for me to have a bed on my own and the respect that I am given.

There were less than 30 beds for about 120 inmates in a ward … they are things that are better left unsaid.”
On the relationship with prisoners, he said; “I saw some hair-raising treatment of inmates by their own inmates and not warders.

Nke narrated that they had to cue up to use the small toilet there and a hole where inmates empty their bladders and others defecate.

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