By Mboh Promise, Cameroon

As grabbing of land continues in Buea, chief town of the South West region of Cameroon, some members of the Rehabilitation Institute for the Blind (RIB) have sent a letter to President Paul Biya.

In the long letter signed by 33 members of the “movement of former trainees committed to the protection of the land of RIB,” they have expressed dissatisfaction about how authorities are allowing individuals to occupy the land that is meant for the institution.

According to the letter dated July 13, 2022, the chief of Bomaka, a village close to the centre is still occupying the land of the Bulu Blind people.

“We have noted with bitterness that some individuals are erecting buildings, in a dizzying and ostentatious manner on portions of land belonging to this centre, in defiance of the opposition of its director, and the protests of its former trainees. After investigations, we were told that the chief of Bomaka (a neighboring village of Bulu Blind), would be the instigator of this land invasion,” a section of the letter stated.

The former trainees have advanced to President Paul Biya that despite all the necessary measures taken by the institution to gain back her land, nothing seems to be working and the administration of Buea is not helping to address the situation.

Created in 1980 as the lone school for the blind in Cameroon, the Rehabilitation Institute for the Blind and the centre achieve full autonomy and socio-professional integration of the blind and visually impaired

The vast land at the centre was strictly for training in agriculture and animal husbandry for those who enrolled in the institution.

But many years after, it seems the purpose of the land has not been fulfilled

On several occasions, students and former trainees of the institution have protested on the streets of Buea, demanding the authorities to help them reclaim their land.

They blocked the highway in November 2021 and in May 2022, where the DO of Buea, Abba Abdurama calmed down the situation and promised to assist them, but months after, the situation seems worse.

They have also stressed the need for the government of Cameroon to link the institution to the University of Buea, which has been assisting them in the training of students with special needs.

The former trainees have added that lack of brailles, training materials and good water are some of the challenges that students are facing in the institution.


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