Adolphe Lele Lafrique North West Governor sizes up the socio-political situation of the region ahead of the 46th National day on May 20, 2018.
How would you size up the current socio- political situation of the North-West Region?
The North West Region in general is enjoying relative calm and stability. Citizens are going about their activities hitch-free despite the persisting social, economic and security challenges brought about by the secessionist movement. The areas of Batibo, Widikum and Belo have been particularly in turmoil as a result of clashes between secessionist activists and our regular forces who have as mission to restore republican order and guarantee the integrity of our national territory. For these reasons, and in a bid to maintain peace and ensure law and order, restriction of circulation of persons and goods were deemed absolutely necessary. In the hotspots, the movement of motorbikes was simply suspended and sensitization, information and mobilization campaigns are ongoing and these restrictions shall be uplifted progressively as normalcy returns as was the case recently in Balikumbat.
In the face of the socio- political crisis rocking the region, can we know concrete actions by the North-West administration towards a return to normalcy?
The administration has been doing all and on a daily basis to ensure that the peace-loving and law abiding inhabitants of the region go about their day-to-day activities in tranquility. We have enforced mixed check points which I personally go down from time to time to inspect and ensure that the instructions given are actually respected’ i.e ensuring the security of the population and nothing else. We have requested that the population should systematically collaborate with the administration to identify and denounce all individuals who are trying to breach their peace and tranquility. From time to time, we crave the indulgence of North westerners to sacrifice some of their comfort for us to be able to effectively protect them. In that light, we suspended circulation of motorbikes in some localities for a given period, a curfew has been instituted all over the region and we want to reassure the population that all these measures are just temporary and will be uplifted as soon as the situation returns to normalcy, something we all anxiously await.
We can also cite the creation of new security posts to bring them closer to the affected populations. As a follow up to the battery of measures already taken by the Head of State, I personally carried out a tour of the region to sensitize, inform and mobilize all the stakeholders on the need for a rapid return to normalcy. The Senior Divisional Officers and the Divisional officers have also been instructed to organize the same exercise, some of whom are presently on the field for the sensitization mission. These and much more are some of the actions taken by the North-West administration for us to have a speedy return to normalcy.
How would you evaluate the response from the population after your recent peace and reconciliation crusade on the field?
North Westerners are fast realizing that they were sold a far-fetched and naïve dream and are now earnestly wishing for a return to normalcy. We believe that this should be the reason behind their readiness to now collaborate with the administration for a return to normal life and activity. In a nutshell, they were very receptive and are eager to once more enjoy the peace, hospitality and tranquility our region was hitherto renowned for.
Any special message for the population ahead of the 46th National Day?
As we are bracing up to celebrate the 46th edition of our national unity, I want to solemnly, on behalf of the Head of State, the Prime Minister and the entire government, call on all inhabitants of the North West region to come out en masse to celebrate this important day in the life of our nation in the usual pomp and pageantry we have always known. I want to equally seize this opportunity to urge them to always have in mind that there is no house without problems and that when a house faces an external attack, all the family members forget their petty differences to face the common enemy. I finally, want to call on them, each and every one in their own spheres to do their human possible best to ensure that our region again enjoys the tranquility and prosperity it always enjoyed.
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