By Mua Patrick, November 24, 2016
Cameroon Journal,Yaounde – Barrister Nico Halle, Bar General Assembly President, reacting to reports that they were bullied to submission by the Minister at the Yaounde conciliatory meeting, has said the information isn’t entirely true.
«If some Anglophone lawyers were bullied into submission, then Nico Halle was not. It is true I did not stop or interrupt the Minister of Justice when he was castigating the Common Law Lawyers but I made my position clear on the way forward for this crisis…’’
He said apart from putting the blame for the prolonged lawyers’ strike at the doorsteps of Government because they ignored or acted late from the beginning of the strike action, he read out and presented to the Minister of Justice the resolutions arrived at during a meeting that brought together Anglophone CPDM MPs and representatives of the Common Law Lawyers. He said he urged Government to look into the recommendations which according to him could also provide a lasting solution to the crisis.
Halle expressed frustration the deliberations and outcome of Tuesday’s meeting would not provide the expected results to end the lawyers’ strike action.
He admitted that he was given money for attending the meeting but quickly added that it was meant for fuel, and not to bribe them. «It could not have been bribe because the money was only given to us after the meeting,’’ he said.
While some sources have said the money given to those invited to the meeting was in large sums, Halle qualified it as ‘’ a chicken feed because it could not cover all my fuel and hotel bills.’’
Sama Francis justifies presence at Yaounde meeting
Justifying the reason for attending the Yaounde meeting, former Bar Council President, Sama
Francis, said he had made it clear at the gathering that he was there on his own.
«I told the Minister that I didn’t come for the meeting to represent the Common Law Lawyers, Fako Lawyers’ Association-FAKLA, North West Lawyers’ Association-NOWELA or the newly-created
Common Law Lawyers’ Bar Association…I honoured the Minister’s invitation as a former Bar Council President and because of the agenda that was very clear on the invitation…’’
He said he was made to understand from the invitation extended to him that the meeting was summoned to discuss the training of pupil lawyers and the creation of a Law School ; programmes which he said he initiated during his two-year term as Bar Council President.
He admitted that money was made available to all those who were invited to the meeting by the Minister of Justice but said he was yet to go to the Director General of Administration of same Ministry as was announced after the meeting, to collect his share of the money.
«I am still to go there and collect whatever amount they will give me. I can’t refuse to collect the money because it is my right to be given money after attending a working session for twelve hours,’’ Sama said.
Prostesting Lawyers fire back
In a quick response to Laurent Esso’s utterances, the President of the Fako Lawyers’ Association, FAKLA, Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla who like his colleagues
boycotted Tuesday’s meeting, said the Justice Minister’s arguments do not hold any water.
He argued that the Cameroon Bar Law makes provision for the creation of constituent associations. FAKLA, he added, is a registered association that has been recognized by several Government establishments including the National Assembly that recently invited them for dialogue.