Barrister Christopher Ndong, an anglophone lawyer has said common law lawyers will not resume work until all arrested colleagues and protesters are released.
Barrister Ndong was reacting to Barrister Jackson Ngnie Kamga’s plea for common law lawyers to don their wigs and gowns and head back to the court rooms on Tuesday, May 2.
Ngnie Kamga who is the President of the Cameroon Bar Council had told reporters on April 8, in Limbe, that his colleagues of the Northwest and Southwest Regions have resolved to resume work on May 2.
Kamga argued that since government has made some concessions like the creation of a common law section in ENAM, the redeployment of judges taking into account their linguistic criteria and the increase in the number of english-speaking magistrates in the supreme court amongst others, which he says are signs of good faith, it was incumbent on the Anglophone lawyers to also show some magnanimity by resuming work.
He said resuming work was going to give him the latitude to further his negotiations with government to cause the release of their two colleagues, Barrister Agbor Balla and Walters Abadem.
But some common law layers like Barrister Ndong will have none of it. Christopher Ndong insisted over an interview he granted the BBC that government must first release their detained colleagues and others in yaounde before they can resume work and resume dialogue.
“Anglophone lawyers are ready to go back to court. But under certain conditions. First, common law lawyers and anglophones are in Kondengui prison because they are claiming their rights. So as long as our fellow lawyers and demonstrators are not released, we will not resume work,” he said.
Barrister Ndong also reiterated the position of Maurice Kamto, a legal practitioner and president of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, who had slammed the Biya regime for use of brute force, unlawful arrest, intimidation, extortion and gross violation of human rights in the North West and South West regions over the past five months. Maurice Kamto had said government’s recent concessions through the minister of justice is a ploy to play over lawyer’s intelligence. “We all know that those measures have to go through a bill and tabled in the national assembly before it becomes law.
Barrister Agbor Balla, Dr Fontem, Bibixy and the 25 others are charged for, among other crimes, terrorism, secession and destabilisation of public order; charges that carry very heavy jail terms.