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18 juillet 2010

Revendication des terrains spoliés par la Socapalm à BIDJOCKA

Cameroon: Hikoa Malep - SOCAPALM Land Dispute - Anong Adibimé Brings Peace

Brenda Yufeh
Cameroun Tribune/ 13 April 2009

The villagers want 100 hectares of land from SOCAPALM as well as compensation for land taken from them. Land dispute between villagers of Hikoa Malep in the Messondo Sub-Division of the Nyong and Kellé Division in the Centre Region and the Société Camerounaise des Palmeraies (SOCAPALM) which dates over 30 years will soon be solved to the satisfaction of both parties.

Last Thursday, April 9th, the Minister of State Property and Land Tenure, Pascal Anong Adibimé, was at the SOCAPALM farmland at Messondo to sort out a peaceful solution to the long standing problems between the villages and SOCAPALM authorities. For over four hours the minister did not only listen to the various parties involved in dispute but also highlighted the laws governing State Property and Land Tenure in Cameroon.

Since 1971 the government of Cameroon made available some 10,840 hectares of land to SOCAPOR which is today called SOCAPALM for the cultivation of palms. As the law demands, the than Senior Divisional Officer of the area went to the field to make an evaluation of what was on the land in view of compensating those who previously used the land given to SOCAPALM.

Chief Albert Bidjocka, head of one of the families whose land was given to SOCAPALM, said since 1971 until date, no compensation has been given to them. Besides the compensation, one of the clauses of the agreement which obliges SOCAPALM to provide the villages with 100 hectares of land for the cultivation of banana, has not been respected by SOCAPALM.

After the Villagers wrote a complaint to the Minister of State Property and Land Tenure on these issues, a working session was held in Yaounde with SOCAPALM authorities and the villagers before the current field visit to the locality. The population wants compensation for their land given to SOCAPALM as well as the 100 hectares of land which SOCAPALM had to give to them for plantation work.

While the General Manager of SOCAPALM, Jean Pierre Charbon, expressed surprise that the problems are coming up after so long, Minister Anong Adibimé told him that he is not supposed to be surprised because yesteryears SOCAPALM might have had business with a generation of people who did not see the importance of land. Given that the population of Hikoa Malep has increased, there is certainly need for more land.

During the meeting, representatives from SOCAPALM were not given concrete solutions to the problems posed by the population but Minister Anong Adibimé called them to order reiterating that the government is out to ensure that social peace reigns in the country. Thus, SOCAPALM has to act fast especially given that they do not exploit all the 10,840 hectares of land given to them some 30 years back.

The minister said in some few days to come, he will hold a working session with SOCAPALM and the villagers to formally bring SOCAPALM to put at the disposal of the villages the 100 hectares promised them some years back. The Minister said officials from his ministry will assist the villagers in sharing the 100 hectares of land given them within the Bidjocka village which has today been separated into two different localities.