By Monica C. Nkenganyi
AmbaNews24, New York – USA
The death has been announced of Justice Frederick Alobwede Ebong, the first president of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia on May 24, 2019 in the United States of America after a brief illness. Justice Ebong, a learned Judge of the High Court in the Southern Cameroons defied the odds, risked his very lucrative job and personal security by openly rebelling against French Camerouns illegal occupation of the Southern Cameroons. On the historic night at the turn of the last century on December 30th 1999, Justice Ebong led a group of Ambazonian patriots on a daring mission that involved the seizure of the Cameroun government owned Cameroon Radio and Television Station in Buea, Fako State where he broadcasted a message declaring the restoration of the independence of Southern Cameroons from La Republique du Cameroun.
In a Press Statement announcing the death of Justice Ebong, the Governing Council of Ambazonia paid tribute to his great sacrifices and selflessness in the self-determination cause of the Ambazonian people. The Governing Council in the statement said that, Justice Ebong shall be ‘remembered for his Ambazonian nationalism and heroic advocacy of the independence and sovereignty of Ambazonia by which he led a few others to take over Radio Buea at the down of the Third Millennium and declare the restoration and independence of Ambazonia’.
On December 30th 1999, the Ambazonian people heard for four hours, from 11:30pm to 3:30am, the voice of Justice Ebong over Radio Buea repeatedly proclaiming the “Restoration of the Sovereignty and Independence of what used to be the Southern Cameroons under United Kingdom administration henceforth (to) be known and called the Federal Republic of the Southern Cameroons.”
Talking about the heroic event, he recounted how his group succeeded in disarming two security officers at the Radio Station before gaining access and broadcasting the famous independence proclamation. In what was peaceful takeover, Justice Ebong said they “disarmed but not harmed” the police officers, and continued that after they finished their mission of declaring the independence of the Southern Cameroons before the dawn of the 21st century, they “immediately gave back the guns seized from the police officers securing the government owned station”. During this period, Justice Ebong was the Chairman of the High Command Council of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), which was the administering organ of the then Southern Cameroons Peoples Conference (SCPC).
Following this incident, Justice Ebong, Late Chief Ayamba Otun, James Sabum, Solomon Anye and the others were arrested nine days later in Limbe and Buea as they marched to affirm the independence declaration made by Justice Frederick Ebong. They were detained at the Secretariat of State for Defense (SED) in Yaoundé for months
While in Cameroun’s jail, Justice Ebong applied for membership of the “Federal Republic of Southern Cameroons” in the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity, now African Union (AU), the Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). These applications ended up without the desired admissions; nevertheless, in one case, namely the application to the AU, they caused Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya to take keen interest in the Ambazonia self-determination.
To give renewed impetus to the liberation struggle under Justice Ebong’s leadership, the SCNC adopted the Coats of Arms, the flag and the National Anthem (“Freedom Land”). In 2000, his election into office as Chairman of SCNC and first “President of Federal Republic of Southern Cameroons” was also intended to heal the different leadership factions that had emerged in the SCNC and to further support the proclamation he had made in Radio Buea.
On March 9, 2017, while in exile in the USA, Justice Ebong said the visit of the then Secretary General of the United Nations, Koffi Annan, to Cameroun in May 2000 at the behest of the Security Council where he called for dialogue to address the Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) problem was a response to the Proclamation of Independence on Radio Buea and because he, Justice Ebong, was under detention. He was released from prison on March 19, 2001.
Despite Kofi Annan’s visit and his call for dialogue, President Paul Biya of Cameroun has refused to yield to such calls. Justice Ebong later wrote: “Paul Biya spurns dialogues because the British transferred the sovereignty of Southern Cameroons to France and the then French president, Charles De Gaulle, transferred the sovereignty of Southern Cameroons to Biya. On September 30th, 1961, De Gaulle said, “On vient d’ avoir un petit cadeau de la reine” (a small gift from the Queen of England). That is why the United Kingdom treats Southern Cameroons as a chattel. Paul Biya should now know that there is legal proof of this illegal transfer of the Southern Cameroons by Britain, the Administrative Authority of the UN Trust Territory of the Southern Cameroons. He should know that the people of the Southern Cameroons are now aware thanks to the “Declassification of the Secret files in London in accordance with the British Official Secrets Act” (Justice Frederick Ebong, Cameroun.be, March 9, 2017)
His will for the Ambazonian people and the liberation struggle can be gleaned from his writing in September 2017. He wrote: “Southern Cameroonians should remain determined to re-assert their independence as proclaimed in December 1999. We point out that UN Resolution 1349 (XIII), paragraph 1, 2, and 3, of March 1959 gave independence to the State of La Republique du Cameroun on 1st January 1960. A separate resolution gave Southern Cameroons independence. No Union Treaty was worked out between and ratified by the Southern Cameroons and La Republique Du Cameroun in 1961 as required by UN Resolution 1608 (XV), para 5, of 21 April 1961, of the 994th plenary session of the UN General Assembly. La Republique du Camerouns Administration in the Southern Cameroons is illegal and illegitimate and “ipso-facto” Questionable. The presence of La Republique du Cameroun’s forces of occupation in the territory is annexation, (the General Assembly Resolution 224 – 111 – of 18 November 1948) . . .. Fellow Southern Cameroonians, the actualization of the sovereignty and independence of the Southern Cameroons is a task that must be done. The annexation bridge is down. Annexation in a civilized world is abhorred.”
Editor’s Note: AmbaNews24 extends its condolences to the family of Justice Ebong and prays for his eternal rest.