By Moma Sandrine
Denizens of Bamenda have decried the prolonged curfew imposed on them since 2018. This follows the difficulties they have faced as a result of the prolonged restriction of movements within specific hours.
When the curfew was instituted by North West Governor Adolph Lele Lafrique in February 2018, inhabitants of the North West Region, NWR hoped that it was going to be uplifted as soon as a desired result was achieved. However, it has been an indefinite renewal since the curfew was instituted. Inhabitants of the region only benefited from 10 days off curfew during the Christmas and new year festive periods.
More than one year after the curfew restricting the movements of people from 9pm to 6am was placed, inhabitants of Bamenda are pleading on the gubernatorial order to be uplifted “I for one am tired of this whole curfew thing. How can you be prevented from moving out of your house at 9pm. Those of us with external toilets really suffer. Sometimes you are really pressed at night and you have no means to go use the toilet for fear of the unknown. It’s terrible” Geraldine a tomato seller told The SUN.
One of the reasons put forward by the governor before instituting the curfew was the need to reduce the level of insecurity in the town. However, most of these inhabitants think otherwise “I don’t think the curfew is helping in any way. Instead since the curfew was imposed, we have had several cases of theft at night. Before the curfew was placed, you will hardly hear of theft in the market or other smaller shops because people were conscious of the fact that they could be caught since there was circulation round the clock. Now the situation is even worse because gunmen now break into people’s houses at random and nothing can be done to save the situation at that time since people are not permitted to move” a bike rider said.
“If the curfew sought to achieve a positive result, then I think the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. I am a woman and I know what we face. Sometimes your child will be burning with fever and you are helpless because you can step out of your house. In cases where the ambulance is alerted, they take long to arrive and sometimes they arrive when the child is already at a very critical stage. I don’t even want to talk about the challenges pregnant women face because of curfew. Imagine trekking a long distance carrying 9months pregnancy and enduring labor pains. The suffering is too much. If the governor can pity us and uplift the curfew, we will really appreciate” a business woman regretted.
“Talking about the curfew, it’s been going on for more than one year now and what has changed? I don’t think the curfew is helping us in the NWR in any way. Rather it is making us live as prisoners in our own town. I sell water melons and most often when we buy from far distances, the driver refuses to make a trip to Bamenda because of curfew hours. Also we usually come to the market as early as 5:30am but that’s impossible now. It’s so frustrating”.
“To me the curfew has really taken a toll on people’s social life most especially the spiritual part. Usually, churches organise all night prayer sessions and many others. But with the curfew such religious gathering is impossible. I think the curfew should be uplifted so that Christians can have their lives back” another lady said.
“To me the curfew has good and bad sides because I think it has helped to reduce the insecurity at night. However, thieves now confidently operate during curfew hours because they know there is no circulation. I am a victim of such. Unidentified gunmen surrendered me at gun point right in my house during curfew hours and made away with a huge sum of money and other valuables”.
The population of the NW after looking at the challenges they face because of the restriction of movement from 9:00pm to 6:00am have pleaded on the governor of the NWR to uplift the curfew so that they can have their lives back.