7, May 2020
The contract of Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor alias Agbor Balla, Instructor at the English Law Department of the University of Buea, UB, has been terminated on grounds that he breached university guidelines when he set an exam question on the socio-political situation in Cameroon’s North West and South West Regions.
Decision No. 2020/0326/UB/DVC/TIC/AcA/AA to terminate the contract of Agbor Balla is dated Wednesday, May 6, 2020 and signed by the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ngomo Horace Manga.
Members of a disciplinary panel set up through service note no. 2020/071/UB/VC/DVC/TIC/AcA/TTSD/AA on April 3, 2020 are said to have unanimously agreed that Agbor Balla’s contract be terminated at the end of a Disciplinary Hearing Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at the Board Room of the Central Administrative Block despite Agbor Nkongho’s “boycott”.
The rights activist is said to have breached professional obligations when he set an exam question on the Anglophone Crisis in a first semester level one course titled “Political and Constitutional History of Cameroon”. The question read: “The Anglophone crisis since 2016 was caused by lawyers’ and teachers’ strikes. Assess the validity of this statement. (40 marks).”
The Disciplinary Panel resolved that the question violates Article 40 and 42 (paragraph 1) of decree no. 93/027 of 19 January 1993, modified and completed by decree no. 2005/342 of 10 September 2005, to define provisions common to all university institutions.
Expected to enter appearance in defense, Agbor Balla rather sought the services of Sheriff-Bailiff Tapa Justin Lebrin to serve the Vice-Chancellor his “Appearance Under Protest”. The four-page document was received on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor by his private secretary early Wednesday morning. In the “protest”, Agbor Balla picked holes in the disciplinary hearing, positing that it fell short of due process.
Based on the outcome of the Disciplinary Panel, Vice-Chancellor Professor Ngomo Horace Manga decided to terminate with immediate effect the Contract of Mr. Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla recruited as Instructor in the Department of Law through decision No. 2015/0514/UB/AcA/TTSD/TSS of June 2, 2015.
“The Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Teaching, Professionalization and Development of Information and Communication Technologies, the Registrar, the Director of Academic Affairs, the Director Of Finance, the Dean of the Faculty of Laws and Political Science, each in their areas of competence, are charged with the implementation of this decision, which shall be registered and communicated wherever necessary,” said Professor Ngomo.
Agbor Balla took to Facebook and Twitter Wednesday night with the following words: “They celebrated when I was arrested; wished me death whilst I was in jail; prayed that I should never leave jail; jubilated when the minister wrote to the university; rejoiced when I was summoned but unfortunately for them they are not God. I have forgiven all of them.”
It would be recalled that the Minister of State for Higher Education and Chancellor of Academic Orders, Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo had on April 20, 2020 instructed the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buea ,Professor Horace Ngomo Manga to put a definite end to all on-campus activities of Agbor Balla which breach the “ethics and deontology” of the University. Sources at UB say the Minister of State’s letter followed complaints from parents sent to his office.
Cameroon-Info.Net recalls that when the crisis in the North West and South West regions started in October 2016 with the Lawyers’ and later Teachers’ strike, Agbor Balla was President of the Fako Lawyer’s Association (FAKLA) as well as President of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, CACSC.
When pressure came to bear on government, the CACSC was banned on January 17, 2017 and Agbor Balla arrested same day along with Dr. Fontem Neba who served as Secretary General of the Consortium.
Brought before the Yaoundé military court for promoting terrorism among other charges that carry the maximum sentence, Agbor Balla was freed when President Biya ordered the discontinuance of proceedings against him and others on August 30, 2017.
Human Rights Lawyer Agbor Balla’s trouble at the University of Buea may not be unconnected to his civil society activities and his recent indictment of government for the February 14, 2020 killings in Ngarbuh, pundits say.