Kanuri people last Saturday July 13th, 2019, meeting at Toungou Hotel, in Yaoundé-Cameroon called on the Government and stakeholders to sensitize the populations and the security forces to stop the stigma against them.
This was the substance of an official declaration made during an intra-community dialogue session in Yaounde. The dialogue session was organised within the context of the Voices For Peace project implemented by Equal Access Cameroon (EAC) and financed by USAID.
Saturday’s dialogue session was the 18th in a series and brought together Kanuri people living in Yaoundé. Previous dialogue sessions took place in Maroua, Kousseri, Gashigar, Tokomberi, Mokolo… The Kanuri it should be noted live mostly in frontier communities between Cameroon and Nigeria in the Far North and North Regions; due to their geographical settlement in these areas where the barbaric insurgents, Boko Haram mostly launch their attacks, the Kanuri have been most associated with Boko Haram and often referred to as terrorists themselves. As a result, they are stigmatized. This stigmatization comes in various forms including refusal by landlords to rent out homes to the Kanuri whom they consider to be dangerous. The Kanuri find it hard establishing identification documents and birth certificates; they fear to speak their dialect in public and suffer arbitrary arrests and detention just to name a few. Their frustrations have left many in a state where they try to change their names and identities.
It was against this backdrop that the intra-community dialogue meeting was convened to strengthen and encourage social cohesion between the Kanuri and other groups. According to the Country Director of Voices for Peace, Mr Wise Nzikie Ngasa, “the dialogue session is to strengthen solidarity among Kanuri and provide opportunities for them to advocate and sensitise communities, Government and security forces to reduce the stigma against them.” To that effect, he called on the Kanuri to embrace living together with their brothers and sisters from different ethnic groups in Cameroon. It was noted during the dialogue session that Kanuri people feel under-represented in municipalities across Northern Cameroon.
The session brought together over 200 Kanuri under the umbrella of the Kanuri Cultural Association known by its French acronym ACKAC and led by Alhadji Madi Bama who is ACKAC president for Mfoundi II. In the declaration, the Kanuri resolved to work with Government and other groups to promote social cohesion and end the stigma and systematic injustices against them.
See copy of the declaration below…
By Awoh Caleb