Cameroonian-born Joseph Ngwa Ngaling is currently in detention at the Kondengui Maximum Security Prison in Yaounde for having bought a newspaper last January.
Ngaling told Hon. Joseph Banadzem, MP for Kumbo Central Constituency in Bui, Northwest Region, during a visit to the prison on February 26, that he was arrested in a taxi on January 13 when he was seen holding a copy of The Post Newspaper.
“I was picked up in a taxi just because I was seen with a copy of The Post Newspaper. The paper had this headline on its front page: “As Ghost Town Looms: Anglophone Teachers, Lawyers, Battle With Government Over School Resumption,” he reportedly told the MP.
“I remember very well because the taxi driver asked me about the content of the paper but I told him that I had not gone through the paper. I later told him that from the front page, it looked like the paper would be interesting. As we continued discussing about the paper, I was suddenly tapped by two plainclothes policemen who were sitting behind and from there I found myself in a cell,” Ngaling said.
According to the native from Bafut, at the time of his arrest, he was five days old in Cameroon having come from the US to attend his sister’s wedding as well as to visit his mother who is sick.
After spending 20 days in Buea, Ngaling was transferred to Kondengui Maximum Security Prison on February 2, where he is currently in pre-trial detention.
Ngaling further said his attempts to explain to the officers in charge while in Buea did not yield any fruits. His sisters who came with him had gone back to US while his mother who is sick knows that he is also back in the US.
“My sisters had gone back and my mother knows that I was with them. I told my sisters not to inform my mother where I was because her health may get worse if she got to know where I am now. My wife and children in US are seriously disturbed,” Ngaling reportedly told the MP.
This was one out of many pathetic stories, the SDF Parliamentary Group leader, Banadzem heard when he visited some 38 Anglophones at the Kondengui Prison, The Post gathered.
“I found them in varying, delicate and worrying situations. Their stories are pathetic and it calls for attraction because some of them do not even know why they are there. Some are sick and others look like they will die in the next coming hours. We have to unite and go towards them because they are psychologically disturbed,” Hon. Banadzem said after the visit.
While handing some foodstuff to the detainees, Banadzem urged them to be strong and courageous, noting that their plight is being handled.
“My brothers, I urge you to have hope because we will do everything to release you from here. It is not your fight alone but ours. Be strong and courageous because God is with you,” he reportedly told them.
According to the MP, “demonstrations are good indicators of any democratic state.”
He added that “every human being has the right to protest if things are not moving well. It should not only be an exception in Cameroon. People should not be detained because they were demonstrating. What is happening in Cameroon is painting the country black.”
Saluting the good will of Hon. Banadzem, Dr. Fontem Neba, who is amongst the 38, thanked the MP for thinking about them, promising to be strong and committed in prayers.
Going by Dr. Fontem, the story line of the problems raised by them has been transformed into what suits the authorities.
Fontem reportedly said the proposals raised during their last meeting with the Ad Hoc Committee have been streamlined leaving out some of the critical points they proposed.
The Post gathered that amongst the detainees who came to greet Hon. Banadzem was the former Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic, Jean Marie Atangana Mebara, and former FECAFOOT President, Iya Mohammed, who are serving jail terms in the prison.
Atangana Mebara appreciated the move as sign of oneness.