Early this week, someone appeared en vedette on Equinox TV, and told the world the United Nations World Food Programme has stocked 1.090 tons of relief supplies for the internally displaced Anglophones. The distribution scheduled to start today, November 2, 2018, is to cover four regions, namely, the Northwest, the West, the Southwest and the Littoral. He was introduced as the country’s director of the World Food Programme.
Much as we applaud the organisation for its projected endeavour to save lives, one still does wonder why so belatedly. Some time past, Ayah Paul did state that international action never appears to be timely, probably because timely actions are not profitable to the actors. Ayah went on to opine that a crisis attracts the world’s attention only when prominent Western,media such as BBC, CNN… inform that ‘as many as … have been killed’. And that appears to make sense because the UN is coming in only after ‘as many as’ 500 persons have been killed in the Anglophone War!
Whatever the case, the project, if realized, would still be salutary for the organization had a choice to act or not to act. Where we differ with Mr. Director is his insistence that the body he heads is not political. Since the beginning of the crisis that has culminated in the Anglophone War, the Ayah Foundation has been onspicuously consistent and persistent in taking life-saving needs to the refugees and to the internally displaced persons, in Nigeria and in Camerouoon. Before the Camerouoonianese Government and now the UN projected to take the first concrete step, we had been on the field for months – close to a year or, perhaps, longer!
The Ayah Foundation knows as a fact that the World Food Programme did establish a list of some two hundred (200) civil society organisations it proposed to work with in the distribution of the relief supplies. Logically, the Ayah Foundation that has mastered the terrain (having been with the intended beneficiaries in Nigeria; in the deepest forests; in several urban centres time and again), should have been among the first few on the list. Intriguingly, not only we were left out, but even when some honest personality was insistent that, if one civil society organisation was to be considered, it ought to be the Ayah Foundation ; and the person of his own volition did communicate our contact to the World Food Programme, we are only learning about the programme taking off on the media like everyone else.
If this is not politics, Mr. Director, what name do you give to it?
We are not itching to be involved ; and it is your choice to work with us or not to. We are doing our best at our own level with those we trust us. It has been no easy tas kat all! The good Lord has warded off stray bullets from us not just once. We have come across corpses : some fresh ; others in decomposition. We have been forced by bullets to flee bacwards. In short, the exercise is fraught with a lot of danger! Once a month, at the least, we have braved it to Nigeria and back ; and we still propose to keep the pace. Taking on more is proportional to more risk. But the point remains that, when you keep disociating yourself from politics with such monotonous insistence/emphasis, it is suggestive of an uneasy conscience.
Someone recently published that whatever you see without, inter alia, Ayah’s name, just conclude it is from Cameroun. We know the relevant unit of the World Food Programme is in Yaounde. We know more than some do think. To copy from some wise people of the Far North Region: ‘WE ARE NOT DOGS’!
We can only wish you all the best as you follow in our footsteps. We do recognise the risks you are going to run!
Justice Ayah Paul Abine