When the case pitting the Bakweri Land Claims Committee (BLCC) against the State Cameroon came up for consideration before the 34th Session of the African Commission Human & Peoples’ Rights, the head of the Cameroon delegation, Dr. Dione Ngute, wondered why the Bakweri wanted "to be treated differently" from other Cameroonians. He was referring to the Bakweri and BLCC demands that land rents and royalties be paid to the indigenes of Fako for the exploitation of their indigenous lands by the CDC for agro-industrial purposes.
In asking the question, the minister was simply expressing a view common within Cameroon Government circles that the CDC lands were "government land" and that consequently, local communities could not lay claim to the revenue generated from the exploitation of the lands in question.
...the Government of Cameroon seems to be claiming, via its resistance to Bakweri land claims, that it neither recognizes nor applies the universal Principle of Derivation whereby a percentage of the revenue accruing from the exploitation of natural resources in a given region is shared among the communities from which this revenue accrues. Hence Dr. Ngute's statement about the Bakweri wanting to be treated differently from other Cameroonians.
But is Dr. Ngute’s view actually the Cameroonian reality? Are the people of Fako asking for rights which other Cameroonian Communities do not have and have never had, or, are the people.
of Fako being denied basic rights that other communities, particularly those of the South, Centre and Eastern Provinces, exercise on a regular basis? Is there a double standard here? A look at the laws and practices in the Cameroonian forestry sector will answer this question.