Bamenda like the rest of the country has just observed the 52nd edition of the National Youth Day albeit under very tense atmosphere. The army and security forces took up strategic positions in town including high raised buildings, blocking the free flow of traffic into and out of central town and into the ceremonial ground.
Army and police trucks ferried pupils, students and workers of some state institutions and para-statals into the ceremonial ground to guarantee their security. The march pass proper lasted about an hour with a few government primary schools, government secondary schools and higher state institutions participating. Workers of some government departments and para-statals also took part in the March pass.
The official ceremony started at 10 am with the arrival of NW Governor. He proceeded to decorate outstanding youths who have distinguished themselves in various aspects with the Governor’s Award of excellence.
The march pass started at 10:38 and ended at 11:40 with only one catholic school taking part, with the rest being government primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. The University of Bamenda stole the march pass with the highest number of participants. The various regional delegations, workers of some para-statal institutions and teachers of the participating institutions also march passed.
The three sections of the YCPDM were the only political party represented, with the YCPDM section President of Bamenda 1A handing over a peace-plant to the governor as a symbol of peace and to foster national Unity.
Northwest Governor Lele Lafrique Adolphe congratulated the youths who mobilized themselves to take part in the youth day and call for all to follow the Head of State’s promise to allow normalcy to return in the region and for the National Commission on Bilingualism to be given the opportunity to solve the problems already raised.
Due to the tight security perimeter around the event, a teacher of GS Mbingfibeh, Mrs Che Loveline and 10 of her pupils were molested by the security officials at the Food Market and could only arrive the ceremonial ground at the end of the event.
Ni John Fru Ndi, SDF National Chairman who attended the event condemned the excesses of the security forces and blame them for trying to kill the Anglo-Saxon system of education.
Before today’s celebration, Defense Minister Beti Assomo Joseph had instructed the two regional governors of the Northwest and Southwest regions to declare night curfews from 8pm to 6am to preempt an attack by the secessionists who he said had enlisted the help of Niger Delta force. A military chopper was hovering over head the entire day.
Meanwhile unconfirmed reports from Bamenda says there was a gun exchange at the ceremonial ground between security forces and unknown gun men, leading to the death of some security officials.