The Fon of Bangang and his people have pledged to embrace the just-created Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Lebialem Division in the South West Region.
Bangang is one of the communities bordering the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary that was created by Prime Ministerial decree number 20145212 of September 29, 2014.
Fon Folah Njoh Julius III told The Green Vision, that a majority of his people have embraced the ministerial decision making Tofala a full protected area.
The Fon was speaking on November 20, 2014 during a meeting to discuss the donation of piglets and beehives to his community by ERuDeF within the framework of the Net Positive Impact (NPI) project, sponsored by French Charity Man and Nature.
Unlike other communities where resistance to the Tofala initiative has been minimal, the people of Bangang seemed to be have been more resistant to conservation efforts in the area. However, thanks to constant sensitization and collaboration between ERuDeF and the Fon as well as other Bangang indigenes, The Green Vision learnt more than 60% of the population is now ready to support the conservation of the area’s biodiversity.
Fon Folah said he was ready to continue mobilizing his people to participate in the management of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, but cautioned that the needs of his people must come first. “ERuDeF and partners must put my people first; they must protect my people 70% and the animals 30%. If they do so, my people and I will protect the animals 100%,” said the Fon.
The Fon and his cabinet said the piglets donated to his community would go a long way to improve on the livelihoods of his people. This notwithstanding, he requested that more should be done as is the case with other communities in Tofala.
“ERuDeF and its partners should also offer us oil mills, improved palm and cocoa seeds, train my people on how to cultivate American palms, create rubber plantations, fish ponds, and produce basic commodities like soap and the rest. You should also support education in my community because I know these are things you have done in other areas. I am more interested in the development of my village, I know what my people need and if these things are offered, you can be sure to have the full support of my community,” Fon Folah said.
Nkwete Emilia Bangang, an elder and foremost adviser to Fon Folah, cautioned that care should be taken on who receives items meant for the community because if the wrong people receive community benefits then they would end up in private keeping and fail to meet the needs of the entire community as intended.
Meanwhile, the coordinator of ERuDeF’s Livelihood and Economic Development Programme, Ignatius Njom, assured Fon Folah and his people that their points had been taken into consideration and promised action.
He told the Fon and his council of elders that if the people of Bangang were a little backwards in terms of livelihood benefits from ERuDeF and her partners, it was partly because of their seemingly uncollaborative attitude since the initiation of the NPI-Livelihoods project in the area. Njom reassured them of more benefits since they were now ready to support conservation efforts in the area.
Appreciating the NPI project and excited by the promise of amicable collaboration with ERuDeF, the Fon Folah said he took over from his late father at the tender age of 15 to become the ninth Fon of Bangang, hence as someone who understands his people and puts their interest first, he would only accept projects that would better their lives even if it means falling out with a few antagonists.
By Immaculate Mkong