Patrick Che Ngwashi, Divisional Officer for Tiko and Chairman of the commission evaluating the airport land has disclosed that the rehabilitation of the Tiko Airport from category C to B promises to come with lots of restructuring. Speaking in an interview, the DO revealed that from documents his commission has gone through, even the newly constructed Tiko Council chambers at the Likomba Roundabout could be demolished given that it falls along the runway of the airport.
“The council building falls at the tail of the airport land. Even the Tiko-Douala Road falls within the airport land,” the Divisional Officer pointed out. Going by the DO’s comments, it will mean that the rehabilitation of the Tiko Airport that is one of the only vestiges of West Cameroon may come with lots of pain for the Tiko people.Will the government want the Tiko Council chambers to be demolished? Will the Tiko-Douala road be demolished? Will GBHS Tiko and the Holy Sabbath Church also be demolished?
The above questions will be answered when the findings of the Ngwashi Commission will be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office. The DO said findings reveal that in 1937, the natives who occupied the airport land were compensated to the tune of about 600 pounds and asked to evacuate the area. Later, the people of the Mongo Area are said to have complained to government that their land was not safe. In reaction, the then Minister of Lands is said to have authorised the ceding of land to the people near the airport.
As population pressure increased, people encroached into the airport land. In 1999, the then Senior Divisional officer for Fako is said to have prohibited any form of construction around the airport. This decision was never implemented given that houses have sprouted around and within the airport land at a geometric rate since 1999.
It is feared that all those operating within the airport land will be evacuated without compensation given that their forefathers had been compensated. It is said that only those who have constructed around the airport land will be resettled and compensated. In the face of this, the SDF met in a regional executive meeting and suggested that government construct a new airport at another location in Tiko.
“In Tiko, it was noted that about 2000 to 3000 people would be affected in the demolition of houses near the Tiko Airport area in order to renovate the existing airport and upgrade it from class C to B,” a release from the South West SDF Executive Committee reads in part.
It goes on to add that: “While we appreciate the efforts of government to bring this important utility to the use of the population of the South West Region and the Tiko population in particular, we appeal to government to kindly look for an alternative site within Tiko Sub-Division and create the Class B Airport there. This would avert the social and economic difficulties that the population would be subjected to if this project is maintained in the current site and buildings demolished. Otherwise, it is even a security risk to still put the current airport into use because it is situated right in the middle of Tiko municipality. An airport located near the sea around the Mungo area would be an ideal economic project that would definitely change the phase of that area in the Tiko municipality.”
Source: Cameroon Journal