Armed conflict in NW, SW: Teachers left helpless as government threatens sanctions for abandonment of duty
Civil servants in Cameroon abandoning their duty posts is not an entirely new phenomenon.
For the first time in decades, however, the numbers have reached an all-time high, especially in the crisis-hit North West and South West regions.
A recent release by Secondary Education Minister, Pauline Nalova Lyonga indicates that over a thousand secondary school teachers have abandoned duty.
With a majority of the said teachers recorded in the regions that have been witnessing an armed conflict for four years now, much doubt how soon the situation may be brought to normal.
According to Minister Nalova’s release, however, the government is bent on making them report to their posts.
“The Minister of Secondary Education hereby invites [them] … To immediately report room 310 sub-department of personal, department of human resources no later than fourteen days with supporting documents to clarify their current administrative positions,” the release reads.
Minister Nalova added that in case of failure to do so, “disciplinary measures will be taken against them.”
While it remains unclear whether these teachers will report for duty, some are believed to have escaped the country, and others living as Internally Displaced Persons due to the war.
Teachers, it should be recalled have for the past few years been victims of the crisis, owing to the school boycott separatist fighters are clamouring for. Many have been kidnapped, tortured, and even killed in the crisis-hit regions.
The government which has refused to dialogue with separatist fighters also insists that teachers take up duty or lose their jobs, leaving them in a difficult position.
Since 2017 when the crisis escalates into an armed conflict, teachers, have gone through thick and thin. They have and are still suffering kidnappings and many have been targeted by sodliers and armed separatist groups.
Talking to MMI on basis of anonymity, a teacher says the move puts teachers’ lives at risk while those in power are protected.
“The sad reality of all those who feature on this list, 99% braved the odds of saving their heads with a ransom or using armoured cars to assume duty. Who are they deceiving? Why are they a part of this list? Their bosses were instructed not to yet give them assumption or resumption of duty certificates” he stated
Another teacher adds that “we have been saving lives here in the region don’t know what the Government’s plan for the people is.”
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