Author Archives: Fonki Ndeley

MINFOF Gets New Boss, Amid Growing Conservation Concerns

The Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), now has a new boss to pilot its activities. Jules Doret Ndongo, was appointed through a president decree of Friday March 2, 2018. He takes over from Philip Ngolle Ngwesse, who has been heading the Ministry for over 5 years now.

Yanick Fonki

Jules Doret Ndongo, hitherto served as Minister Delegate at the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation. He was in charge of Decentralised Territorial Communities, a position he held since 2009.

Haven served the Government for over 17 years, Jules Doret Ndongo, is an old-hand in administration. He will surely be needing a lot of it in driving the international governance treaties on conservation of biodiversity.

Minister Ndongo is coming to MINFOF at the time when regional stakeholders rounded a 3-day conference on restoring Lake Chad. He will have to understudy the Paris COP-21 resolution aiming at implementing measures on restoring the degraded Lake Chad landscape.

Creation of more protected areas to conserve the last remaining flora and fauna, will surely be another task for Minister Ndongo. Presently, a host of proposed protected areas, have been earmarked for gazettment. However, the government’s good intentions have often been misinterpreted by the communities adjacent to the proposed area. Communities put up stiff resistance whenever attempts are made to protect the flora and fauna around their communities.

In that light, the new MINFOF boss will have to merge his tactical administration prowess with the authority of his new office, to overcome such challenges.

Over and above, the restive Anglophone crisis is heaping greatly on the conservation of Flora and Fauna. Over 7 protected areas have been hit directly and/or indirectly. For instance, the crisis is having untold effects in the Takamanda and Korup National Park, Bayang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Barombi-Mbo Forest Reserves, have all been encroached by humans.

Many now live in these protected areas following the conflicts between separatist forces and Cameroon military. Such fighting have let to the burning of houses, maiming, abductions, and arbitrary arrests. For such reasons, many have fled into the wild.

Hence, the adjacent wildlife are more or less used as food by the encroachers and the flora, used for shelter and more. Burning of the forest, considered a taboo per the 1994 forestry law, now occur uncontrolled. Many large mammals and endangered tree species, are very vulnerable following the invasion of the space.

Recently, MINFOF workers, and stakeholders exploiting the forest, have come under heavy attacks from the separatist fighters, who burn forestry properties, and destroy infrastructure used for conservation.

It is therefore hoped that, the new MINFOF boss will probe into the aforementioned plus more challenges, and provide palpable solutions.

Health Tips with Dr. Enoh Nkongho

Dr. Enoh

Dr. Enoh

Think about prevention now with Dr. Enoh Nkongho, so you won’t have to worry about your health later. The neurosurgeon has useful answers to your health problems in every edition of The Green Vision!

Each year some 15 million people suffer strokes worldwide. This medical condition, often incapacitating if not fatal, has many risk factors and causes. It is also a condition that is avoidable. Dr. Enoh Nkongho, specialised as a neurosurgeon, explains stroke and advises on how to prevent it, where it is preventable.

Stroke actually is a function of the disruption of the senses; touch, hearing, seeing, speaking and even movement which does not come back for a period of 24 hours; medically it is referred to as a neurological deficit which persists for a period not later than 24 hours.

Stroke has many causes: but two events take place at the level of the brain – the brain is deficient of blood supply because the veins taking blood and nutrients, such as glucose and oxygen to a particular area of the brain are ruptured and the blood spills all over the brain. This is called haemorrhagic stroke. Or the vessels are either blocked or narrowed by an event; we call that one escape stroke.

What causes the blood vessels to burst most of the time is high blood pressure, or hypertension. If you are hypertensive and a doctor educates you on how to go about that medical condition and you do not respect the advice from the doctor, there will come a time when the blood pressure will become very high and affects the brain when the veins supplying the eloquent brain rupture; this is the area that makes your limbs to move. You will have weakness or even paralysis usually on one side. That is the area that controls speech and eyesight. If it persists for more than 24 hours, that is stroke.

The other stroke due to deficient supply of blood to the brain is caused by a blood clot moving from the heart going up to the brain, or in an area of the big blood vessels that there is a plaque due to accumulation of fat that can cause a blood clot to develop. This clot is then carried along the blood stream through the vessels towards the tiny vessels in the brain, but through those very tiny vessels blood can no longer get to the brain. So if you have a problem with your heart, when your heart cannot contract very well, a blood clot can form, or an area where there is high concentration of lipids (fat). Also, very high blood cholesterol can cause blood to clot.

Other causes of stroke; there are some illness which cause the blood to become thick like polysteria; the case when there is a lot of red blood cells in your system; it can form a clot and send it to those very tiny vessels in the brain.

There are also certain diseases that cause blood to clot very easily; too much clotting factors in the blood can cause you to have stroke. And the diseases of the blood vessels themselves; they can become inflamed due to infection and even when your immune system is not balanced, you form a blood clot and you experience stroke.

Toxins in the blood can cause clots which may lead to stroke.

Risk factors: much alcohol intake, too much cigarette smoking, age, gender, consuming hard drugs like cocaine, oral contraceptive pills; women on oral contraceptive pills are predisposed to having stroke. Even pregnancy and child birth; there are a lot of changes going on in the blood system predispose women to having stroke.

Diabetes is also a risk factor. Diabetics who do not follow their diets very well are also susceptible to having stroke. If they don’t follow the advice of the diabetologist, then you are likely to have stroke.

Genetic/hereditary predisposition: If stroke runs in the family, it puts you at risk of having stroke. meanwhile, there is no particular food that causes stroke per se. But if you have a medical condition and a doctor advises you, you just have to follow the advice.

Age is another factor that triggers stroke. 30% of stroke cases occur in the young less than 35 years of age, 70% of stroke cases occur in people older than 65 years of age. Even gender; more cases of stroke occur in men than women.

There are certain risk factors that can be avoided like smoking, drinking alcohol, taking hard drugs, taking oral contraceptive pills as a choice for women, a diabetic not following the advice of the doctor or a hypertensive forgetting to take his or her medication.

Stroke is not mystical; it is not caused by your grandfather’s spirit; it is a medical condition that can be managed by a hospital, not taken to a church for prayers; a stroke patient should first be taken to a hospital then to church and then you can continue praying. It is only this God that can help the doctors to help you. Risk factors that are avoidable should be avoided.

French Firm Signs ABS Agreement with Magha-Bamumbu

The French company V. Mane Fils has signed the first-ever Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) in Cameroon. This document embodies the legal requirement for the access and benefit sharing, resulting from the commercialization of the Echinops giganteus roots found in Magha-Bamumbu, Lebialem Division, Southwest Cameroon.

This agreement was facilitated by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in collaboration with the ABS Capacity Development Initiative in Germany, under the supervision of the Ministry of the Environment, Nature protection and sustainable Development.

The MAT emanates from the Access Benefit Sharing principle (ABS), which advocates for the equitable distribution of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources of the Nagoya Protocol of 2010.

By Sheron Endah

On April 2, 2015, the people of Magha-Bamumbu and V. Mane Fils under the supervision of the Minister Delegate Dr. Nana Aboubakar of MINEPDED, met at the conference room of Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development with the purpose of signing the first MAT Document. The people of Magha Bamumbu was represented by HRM Lekunze A.N and Mr. Michel Mane Director General of V. Mane Fils under the watchful eyes of the Minster Delegate Dr Nana Aboubakar, in the presence of a range of stakeholders such as; The National ABS committee, ERuDeF, UNDP, GEF, COMIFAC, The French Embassy and the ABS Capacity Development Initiative Germany.

According to the MAT agreement, V. Mane Fils will export the Echinops roots while in return, the Bamumbu villagers will receive both monetary and non-monetary benefits to support their individual and community development projects, on the other hand non-monetary benefits will come through royalties, profits accruing from the sales of products made from the extracts of Echinops roots. Full of excitement the Minister Delegate said, “I encourage all traditional authorities to help in the realization of the process and I hope that this event will invite other companies to come to Cameroon”.

“It is a privilege that this is really happening in Cameroon and in Central Africa for the very first time. We hold this process so dear in mind as we will want communities to benefit from the exploitation of their natural resources,” said Galega Prudence, First Adviser to the Minister.

She also said it was for this reason that the Cameroon National ABS team met to carefully examine the draft MAT, making sure all the terms of the Nagoya Protocol were respected.

After the signing ceremony, the Fon of Bamumbu said his people remain hopeful that the MAT agreement will ameliorate their living conditions.

“We remain hopeful that the MAT is going to make the lives of the Magha-Bamumbu people better,” said Fon Lekunze Andreas.

As for Mane Michel, he said: “I come not to disrupt but to encourage conservation and sustainable use of Cameroon biodiversity….and the potential development of local communities through the development of value chains … he further declared that the Echinops giganteus root contains genetic elements with potential in the perfume industry, that can be used to manufacture flavors and fragrances”.

The process which started in 2012 in Magha-Bamumbu saw the guidance of ERuDeF and supervision from the government who made sure all the steps involved in the ABS process were strictly followed.

Prior to the signing of the MAT V. Mane Fils through its Foundation had already signed the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) with community in January 2013 and the research and Development with the Minister of Environment in May 2014.

Fon Lekunze (left foreground) Minister Aboubakar (middle) and Michel Mane (right) signing MAT document

Fon Lekunze (left foreground) Minister Aboubakar (middle) and Michel Mane (right) signing MAT document

Access and Benefit Sharing originates from the convention on Biological resources in 1992 stemming from the unequal distribution of biodiversity throughout the world. This is seen in the desire for technologically rich but biodiversity poor countries to have continuous access to these resources and secondly the concern of the biodiversity rich but technologically poor countries to benefit from the exploitation of their resources.

The NAGOYA Protocol on access to genetic resources of 2010 came as a response to the growing concerns of developing countries relating to the misappropriation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge and also the worries of users of genetic resources regarding the absence of clear procedures for obtaining access to genetic resources in a number of countries. This will then help to develop clear and transparent procedures for access to genetic resources and help ensure the sharing of benefits once genetic materials leave the provider.

How Boko Haram Finances Its Terrorist Attacks

Kidnapping for ransom, black marketing, local and international supporters, al-Qaeda connections and other well-funded groups in the Middle East are some of Boko Haram’s sources of funding.
By Azore Opio
Being in possession of high-tech machinery supports strong suggestions that formidable forces are behind Boko Haram. Abubakar Shekau and his masked minions could not have picked up vast arrays of heavy weaponry, vehicles, bombs and ammunition from the forest of Sambisa.
In the name of a “holy war”, Boko Haram unleashed attacks on banks and robbed millions of Naira from bullion vans, The Washington Post reported.
The Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium says bank robberies account for 6 million US dollars of Boko Haram’s wealth.
As Boko Haram ravaged financial institutions to bankroll its terrorist campaigns, it began acquiring the technology to make explosive devices which it used to blow up churches. Borno State in Nigeria received the brunt of these crude explosives. Many lives were lost. At the same time, kidnapping of high-value personalities such as politicians, religious leaders, wealthy businessmen, traditional rulers, senior civil servants and foreigners raked in huge ransom money for the Islamic sect between 2010 and 2012.
Beyond selective murders, kidnappings, and robberies, there are suspicions that Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda are closely linked and benefitting from some of the money, training and weapons leaking from Syrian rebels. It is an open secret that the US is supporting the Syrian rebels with military aid and other logistics.
Reports say Al-Shabab united with al-Qaeda in 2012.
According to the International Crisis Group, Boko Haram’s story of fundraising dates as far back as the World Trade Center disaster. Osama bin Laden, then leader of al-Qaeda, reportedly dispatched the equivalent of 3 million US dollars in Naira to Nigeria to be shared among groups with matching passions to impose Islamic rule. Boko Haram reportedly received part of this war incentive.
“Al Qaeda are our elder brothers. Our leader travelled to Saudi Arabia and met al-Qaida there. We enjoy financial and technical support from them. Anything we want from them we ask them,” a Boko Haram spokesman reportedly told the Guardian, a Western newspaper, in 2011.
Faulty Move
When Boko Haram felt it had taken possession of northern Nigeria, and even started collecting taxes, it became overambitious and spread its attacks to neighbouring Cameroon, a faulty step the group might regret. Their world of terror began falling apart when Cameroon, Chad and Niger joined Nigeria to counter-attack in the region where the borders of all the four countries meet. But before that, Boko Haram had wrecked havoc in northern Cameroon and reaped huge sums in ransom money. The terrorist sect reportedly pocketed 3 million US dollars in exchange for a French family it had abducted in Cameroon. And, although the Canadian government denied it, reports said a Canadian nun and an Italian priest captured by Boko Haram were bartered for money, Agence France-Presse reported.
The tide, however, seems to have turned against Boko Haram. The three-month offensive driven by the four nations has seen the terrorist group retreating, their force burning out and their captives, mainly females, being rescued by Nigerian troops. More unfortunate for Boko Haram is the fact that they had little or no sense of the Cameroonian national solidarity stakes at play.
Solidarity Stratagem
Cameroon’s ability to defuse events that threaten its stability has been its strong point in the central African sub-region. This has been enabled by the nation’s capacity to shore up domestic morale and sometimes spend its way out of trouble. That stratagem has often come under pressure from many vested interests competing in a delicate regional security situation; piracy in the sea, poachers and traffickers, civil strife in neighbouring countries and illegal cross-border trade.
Beyond marching to demonstrate their distaste for Boko Haram terrorism which has claimed the lives of Cameroonian soldiers as well as civilians, the compatriots have thrown in their monetary weight to boost the morale and support the fight against the horrendous Islamic sect. Through several public fundraising campaigns nationwide, Cameroonians have gathered close to 2 billion francs cfa. A solidarity meeting at Bongo Square in Buea, Southwest Region, on April 17, 2015 for example, raised more than 80 million francs cfa. The Northwest Region raised some 80 million in anti-Boko Haram campaigns; the Far North, over 20 million, Befang collected 36 million and the South Region; 99 million, just to name these few.

Demonstrating against Boko Haram inhabitants of Buea, capital of the Southwest Region march to Governor’s office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cameroonian Muslims denouncing Boko Haram

 

 

 

 

 

Boko Haram was founded in 2002 by a cleric called Mohammed Yusuf. The group was originally known as Yusufiyya founded as an alternative to Western education. Yusufiyya transmogrified to Boko Haram and since 2009, the group has cut off limbs and lives from humans; upwards of 15,000 and displaced over 200,000 Nigerians.
Mohammed Yusuf was later killed and Abubakar Shekau stepped in his shoes.

Engaging Corporations, Commoners To Conserve Mother Earth

In modern times as the world struggles with increasing changes in climate conditions, high population growth, shrinking natural resources and environmental degradation, environmentalists have found their culprits: large corporations and industrialists. These groups contribute to carbon emissions, one of Earth’s foes, and perpetrate the destruction of forest areas and the environment at large.
The survival or eventual ruin of Mother Earth depends largely on the minds and hands of humans, since they are the principal users and destroyers of the Earth’s environment. Regardless of status, man uses, and abuses, Earth much more than any other living being. The onus, therefore, of protecting planet Earth lies squarely on the shoulders of man himself; ordinary people, business people, industrialists, intellectuals, scientists, activists, public officials and leaders.
How then do we engage the deeply stratified communities of humans to collectively protect Mother Earth with the knowledge that at one extreme end are the downtrodden have-nots and at the other end, those who wield colossal technological and economic power, and would be unwilling to relinquish these powers? In a complex world of mixed economic fortunes, the question of protecting the world becomes a complicated equation. Those who thrive directly on the environment will advocate the absolute protection of natural resources, while those who reap industrial and corporate profits from the exploitation and transformation of natural resources would find it somewhat difficult to reconcile with the notion of protecting Earth, even though not absolutely.
Earth’s environmental problems probably commenced with man’s discovery of fire. Then followed a series of economic and social events accompanied by technological innovations that engineered new needs in man’s life, exerting more demands from the environment for supplies of energy. With his unquenchable thirst for more energy, man never imagined the possibility of exhausting his sources of renewable energy nor the use of renewable sources of energy.
The destruction of Earth’s environment began early as man set out on the road of industrialisation. In the mid-19th Century, humans in Europe shifted away from renewable (wind, solar, water) energy to non-renewable energy sources. From wood they moved to coal, then geothermal heat, natural gas, oil shale, petroleum and uranium. Prior to this shift, the Europeans had used wood for making charcoal for internal heating, ship building and industrial use. This severely reduced wood supplies, if not huge forest areas. In the US, trains continued to use wood until about 1875.
In the 1890s, about 38% of energy came from wood, 57% from coal. The rest came from oil and natural gas. It took 50 years for humans to shift from firewood to coal; another 50 years to change from coal to oil and natural gas. It may take another 50 or more years to shift from non-renewable sources of energy to renewable sources. By the time the switch is finally made, irreversible damage must have been caused to Earth’s natural resources by large corporations and industrialists.
In the face of this looming disaster, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recommends that man’s “only option is to manage productivity and resources in a sustainable manner, reducing waste wherever possible, using the principles of adaptive management, and taking into account traditional knowledge which contributes to the maintenance of ecosystem services.”
According to the UN agency, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism, and water management should be carried out within the Convention on Biological Diversity.
“By adopting the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB), governments commit themselves to integrate conservation and sustainable use into their policies at the national level. By minimizing biodiversity loss and helping local populations restore degraded areas, together we can make this a new era of environmentally-sound economic development,” says UNEP.
In the rural areas, there is no point in barring communities from exploiting certain natural resources because, if anything, these communities had been using their resources sustainably. The forest, for example, is their all and all; from time immemorial, it has been their pharmacy, supermarket, kitchen, water source, construction materials, ritual and recreational grounds. They had used these resources as adorably as they possibly could without causing harm to the environment. Then here comes large corporations with voracious appetites for raw materials to feed their industries. And they set out on destructive mass exploitation of the resources, often leaving behind toxic waste to the utter detriment of local inhabitants and their future generations.
To ban local communities from enjoying the natural benefits of their environments is tantamount to turning tradition and culture on their heads. Instead, it is the large corporations and modernisation projects that need constant monitoring, for they tend to deprive communities of their lands and historical livelihoods. Some, more unlucky than the others, are uprooted altogether from their traditional environments and displaced to strange settlements, sentencing them to perpetual poverty and misery. Government and NGOs need to step up monitoring compliance to the several conventions on environmental conservation. Yet again, there is need, as populations increase, exerting huge pressures on the environment, to sensitise the less-technologically endowed communities on the profits of protecting jealously the Mother Earth. This will entail profound selflessness on the part of governments to realise that while they enjoy tax monies from concessions for their survival, they should at the same time recognise that without these natural resources to generate incomes for them, they would be as doomed as the common man, hence the need to empower indigenes and others alike to be able to protect the environment against unscrupulous use.
And this is where UNEP comes in with a warning that needs to be treated seriously: “Despite the fact that sustainable use of biodiversity is widely included in national biodiversity strategies, unsustainable use and over-exploitation remain major threats to biodiversity in several sectors, including fisheries, agriculture, and forestry.”
UNEP says organic farming; environmental impact assessments, certification and eco-labelling, quotas for fisheries; not using large nets; management of protected areas; reduction of bush fires; sustainable tourism can all guarantee sustainable exploitation of natural resources and the eventual conservation of the environment for man’s prolonged benefits.
According to UNEP, about 300 million people depend on forests directly for their survival, including 60 million people of indigenous and tribal groups, who are almost completely dependent on forests. Yet, illegal logging and illegal harvesting of forest products are a serious problem, costing an estimated US$15 billion per year. In addition, rare tree species and those with high value for timber or non-timber forest products are in danger of becoming locally extinct.
Governments should, therefore, ramp up law enforcement, one of the weak points in the conservation of the environment, especially in less developed countries. This weakness is strengthened by the propensity for officials to embrace corruption as the quickest way to make fast money. Corruption should, indeed, be fought with every weapon available.
Environmental education should also be taught as early as possible to prepare the younger generation for responsible relationships with the environment. NGOs, activists and advocates should blow the whistle louder in the face of environmental abuse. CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity), FCS (Forest Stewardship Council; a price premium for companies that log sustainably), FLEGT (forest law enforcement, governance and trade in timber products) aimed at setting up a system to check the legality of timber products (timber legal assurance system (TLAS), amongst others, should all be widespread and adhered to if we want Mother Earth to continue hosting us.