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SYNES Buea Chapter’s Controversial Suspension Of Strike 

By Andrew Nsoseka

SYNES Buea Chapter, in a press conference organised by the President, Dr. James Abangma and his Vice, Dr. Martin Sango, in Bueaon Friday, March 24, announced the suspension of the teachers’ strike.

The duo said they were suspending the strike and not calling it off. They, however, did not give the duration of the suspension.

Dr.Abangmasaid they suspended the strike in order to break the current deadlock to allow Government to follow suit by releasing the arrested leaders, students and implementing the various agreements reached at during the Adhoc Committee meetings.

Responding to a question related to their detained colleagues;Dr.Fontem, Barrister AgborBalla and others, Abangmasaid:“I cannot betray my Secretary General, Dr.FontemNeba. It is the duty of SYNES not to betray any of its members. Barrister AgborBalla is also one of our members, what most people do not know is that AgborBalla is a lecturer in UB, we cannot betray them.”

Citing the democratic nature of SYNES BueaChapter, Abangmasaid he is not foiling Fontem’s efforts or calling for those arrested not to be released or praising the Government.

According to Abangma, they played very vital roles with AgborBalla during the struggle, andthey expectGovernment to release the arrested leaders and students, to ensure that things return to normalcy.

In relation to the level of insecurity that has enveloped the society, and how the security of students on campus would be guaranteed, the Vice President of SYNES Buea, Dr. Martin Sango, said security on campus and the communities can only be guaranteed when Government gets into genuine dialogue on the societal issues that emerged as the teachers’ and lawyers’ strike unfolded.

As for suspending the strike, Dr. Sango said they have not derailed from the course they embarked on.

According to him, their strike was for purely professional and technical reasons, but was invaded by people with other motives.

In suspending the strike, Dr.Abangma and Dr. Sango say they expect Government to release their colleagues and students, properly implement the resolutions of the Adhoc Committee, restore internet facilities and demilitarise the academic communities.

Asked where they had been before resurfacing to suspend the strike, Abangma, who was on crutches due to a wound, said he sustained it when he was running away from police. He revealed that they were in hiding.

The SYNES President said he could not disclose his hideout because he might need to resort to it after the press conference. He added that messages about his suspending the strike had purported that he is trying to do so in order not to be arrested.

According to Abangma, a lot of trails and networks had to be broken before getting to him, and that he was not begging not to be arrested, because, according to him, he could have been arrested before granting a press conference.

Still harping on the case of his arrested colleagues, the SYNES President said he is like a hen that does not abandon its chicks.

“I could have been in the USA, Britain or anywhere, but I chose not to go,” said Abangma, adding that he has received several assuring messages from former students that provisions for him and his family have been made for them to run out of the country.

Similarly, Dr. Sango read out his own messages on arrangements for his family to move to a foreign country for safety.

 

Controversy

The SYNES Buea action comes after that of other teachers’ syndicates which called off the strike, yet the strike continues unabated with parents keeping their children away from school.

Meantime, some members of SYNES Buea who pleaded for anonymity have dismissed the suspension of the strike saying the two SYNES officials have something they don’t want to tell the other hundreds of members. They argue that before joining the strike, a meeting was held with all the members, and ask why Abangma and Sango did not call for a similar meeting before taking any action like suspension of the strike. To them, Abangma and Sango have just joined the TAC and CATTU officials, who, on their own, called off the strike but parents and their children have not heeded it.

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