Security Concerns and lateness Dampened Youth Day Atmosphere in Bamenda

March pass infront of Grand stand Bamenda

March pass infront of Grand stand Bamenda

The splendour and pageant atmosphere that usually characterized national day activities in the northwest regional capital of Bamenda was completely absent this year as security concerns and the late arrival of most dignitaries took away a vital ingredient of the celebration, the massive turn out of the public to watch as events unfold.

The looming threat of terrorists attack meant that no one was allow to stand or walk directly opposite the grand stand which usually hold thousands of onlookers. This time, that part just like the rest of the ceremonial ground was manned by combat ready police officer with fingers on triggers.

The early arrival of the governor Lele L’Afrique at exactly 9:08 am meant the entrances to the grand stand were closed leaving several dignitaries including some service heads and regional chiefs outside. Some had to negotiate their way through the back entrance after pleading with security and protocol officials while others simply had to head back home.

The Street were almost void of people

The Street were almost void of people

There were hundred of unfilled seats

There were hundred of unfilled seats

Security was tight

Security was tight

There was heavy police and gendarme presence

There was heavy police and gendarme presence

Curious onlookers could only watch from the Santa Park or after the grand stand from the Congress Hall entrance towards the Main Market and were unable to watch the performance of their children, schools or groups.

“I did not even see my kid march pass because we were fighting for a vantage spot to watch the march pass” a disgruntled mother told me in Pidgin English when I sought after her impression of the event.

“I only came here to see my child’s school perform and to see what other schools can offer” she continued as many onlookers nodded their heads in approval.

For others even if it took away some of the ambiance, it was good because it created ample space for all to march pass unhindered portraying a mature and secure atmosphere, another lady told me.

The march pass in Bamenda lasted close to four hours with over 300 nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary schools, youth groups, associations, movements and political parties taking part in the.

Northwest governor at the end expressed complete satisfaction with the youths for turning out massively.

“We are really really happy with the successful organization of the march pass here in the grand stand, we have seen children from the grassroots to the highest level of education marching, proud of being of this country, proud to place their support to the head of state in the fight against Boko Haram, you have witness all the messages delivered through the banners they were holding…” he said.

The event was marked by the presentation of the Governor’s Award of Excellence to some meritorious youths for their outstanding achievement.

 

By Abongwa Fozo

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