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Ngando Pickett arrested upon arrival from Ivory Coast

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Cameroon’s diehard football supporter, Henry Mouyebe, popularly known as Ngando Pickett, was arrested at the Douala International Airport this morning after flying in from Ivory Coast where he had gone to support the national team at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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Ngando and his six-member team were immediately taken by the police for questioning after arriving through an Air Ivoire flight.

“He was on board an Air Ivoire flight that arrived in Douala around 2:24am. We immediately interrogated him and his collaborators,” a police officer told Equinoxe Radio.

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The arrest follows a call the 72-year-old made in social media last week, asking people to help pay for his transportation back home from Ivory Coast.

He said he and his team were stranded because they had no means of transportation, and blamed the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) for abandoning them.

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In a telephone interview with Equinoxe this morning, Ngando said his arrest at the Douala Airport is not unconnected to his public call for help.

“I was heard for minutes. I find this to be completely normal. There have been problems. Some think that by my behavior I dishonored Cameroon. I had to explain myself. It’s completely normal,” Ngando said.

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The plea for help did not resonate well with many Cameroonians who said he was being too desperate and was tarnishing the country’s image.

Ngando Pickett, who has been the official mascot of the Indomitable Lions for over 30 years now, travelled to Ivory Coast by road after he was reportedly snubbed by FECAFOOT.

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The football federation has not issued any official statement regarding the Ngando controversy.

His return to Cameroon was thanks to a generous donation of FCFA 1.4 million made by some Ivorians in swift response to his plea for transportation.

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Afrique

Les allocations familiales passent de 2800 à 4500 FCFA par enfant

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Un décret du président de la République portant revalorisation des allocations familiales vient d’être signé par le président de la République.

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Le gouvernement dit multiplier les mesures d’accompagnement après l’augmentation du prix du carburant intervenu en début du mois de février. C’est dans ce cadre que Paul Boya vient de signer un décret portant revalorisation du montant des allocations familiales. Dans ce décret signé ce 21 février, le président Camerounais décide que « le montant des allocations familiales servies aux travailleurs par la Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale et par le Ministère des Finances est à compter de la date de signature du présent décret valorisé à 4500 FCFA à charge et par mois », écrit Paul Biya.

Paul Biya ajoute que son décret abroge toutes les dispositions antérieures contraires, notamment celle du 21 janvier 2016.

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C’est en effet depuis 2020 que la mesure de faire passer les allocations familiales à 4500 FCFA avait  été décidée par la Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale (CNPS) en pleine crise sanitaire de COVID-19, et devrait être reversée même aux travailleurs mis en congé technique en raison de la baisse circonstancielle de l’activité des sociétés qui les emploient pendant le Covid.

La nouvelle mesure abroge donc le décret de 2016 et fixe dorénavant le montant des allocations familiales à 4 500 FCFA par enfant à charge et par mois, soit une hausse de 60.7%.

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Les allocations familiales (AF) avaient déjà bénéficié vers 2016, d’une revalorisation de l’ordre 55,5%, passant de 1800 francs à 2 800 francs à la faveur du décret n° 2016/034 du 21 janvier 2016. Malgré le nouveau montant à verser aux parents, le montant des allocations familiales au Cameroun reste très faible en raison du cout de la vie jugé trop élevé.

La signature de ce nouveau décret entre en droite ligne des mesures d’accompagnement annoncées par le gouvernement en vue d’amortir les effets de l’inflation due à l’augmentation des prix du carburant à la pompe.

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Security Tightened for Buea Mountain Race After Last Year’s Bombings

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With the iconic Buea Mountain Race approaching, security measures are being tightened in Buea. The Cameroon military, particularly the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), is conducting thorough searches along the race route, from Molyko checkpoint to the administrative quarters. Soldiers are inspecting bushes, abandoned vehicles, and potential hiding spots for explosive devices.

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This heightened security follows last year’s incident where three bombs exploded during the race, causing injuries and tragically taking one life. The authorities are determined to prevent any such recurrence and ensure a safe and successful event.

Preparations are in full swing, with administrative officials holding a second evaluation meeting on February 20th. The emphasis is on creating a welcoming atmosphere for both Cameroonians and the 32 foreign athletes participating in the race. Buea’s mayor has also reiterated the commitment to implementing comprehensive security measures.

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The Anglophone conflict has posed challenges to the race in recent years, impacting its grandeur. However, this year, organizers remain optimistic with 602 athletes ready to compete. The course remains the same, starting from Molyko Omnisport Stadium and reaching the summit of the Chariots of Gods before returning to the stadium for the finish line.

Despite the current security situation, the Buea Mountain Race is poised to showcase athleticism, resilience, and a united spirit. The tightened security measures and dedication of organizers pave the way for a thrilling and memorable event.

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The Mount Cameroon Race, known historically as the Guinness Mount Cameroon Race, dates back to 1973, becoming a major sporting event and tourist attraction. Locally, it’s known as the “Race of Hope,” symbolizing resilience and perseverance, especially relevant in the current climate.

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Celebration in Douala as Man Triumphs Over 6-Year Struggle for ID Card

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In a compelling tale shedding light on the persistent challenges faced by some Cameroonians, Nguofack Franck, a 34-year-old resident of Douala’s Deido district, hosted a joyous celebration on Monday evening to mark the long-awaited receipt of his original identity card after an arduous six-year wait.

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Franck’s ordeal commenced in 2018 when he applied for his national identity card—a document pivotal for tasks ranging from banking to voting. Unfortunately, bureaucratic hurdles ensnared his application, leaving him without official identification for years, with only a temporary cartoon copy issued for a purported three-month use while awaiting the original.

Undeterred by the setbacks, Franck remained hopeful. He persisted with numerous visits to the 9th police district in Deido, consistently following up on his original copy despite encountering repeated delays. Finally, yesterday marked the culmination of his perseverance as he collected his long-awaited ID card and was handed the elusive original.

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Overwhelmed with joy and a sense of relief, Franck opted for a unique celebration. He gathered his friends and treated them to a celebratory meal before a night of dancing and partying at a nearby club.

“This ID card may seem like a small piece of plastic, but to me, it represents so much more,” expressed Franck. “For the past six years, I’ve felt like I was living in the shadows, unable to fully participate in society. Now, I finally feel like a full Cameroonian.”

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Franck’s narrative resonates with many Cameroonians grappling with similar challenges in obtaining identification documents. The issue of delayed ID card deliveries has affected hundreds of individuals, with some waiting for their original copies for almost a decade, and tragically, some passing away without ever receiving it.

The usual process involves receiving a cartoon copy on the same day of application and obtaining the original after a three-month waiting period. However, in recent years, individuals have faced nightmarish delays, sometimes being asked to redo the entire process.

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In October of the previous year, the Delegate General for National Security (DGSN), the government entity responsible for issuing identification documents, announced plans to engage a service provider for the biometric ID cards on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis. According to Martin Mbarga Nguélé, DSGN chief, this initiative aimed to establish three autonomous biometric identity card production facilities in Yaounde, Douala, and Garoua, along with 15 contemporary biometric enrollment posts in each of the country’s ten regional headquarters.

However, as of now, no progress has been observed, leaving many Cameroonians frustrated and feeling abandoned in their struggle for identity cards. Despite these challenges, some maintain hope that the vital document will be delivered within 48 hours, offering a glimpse of optimism in the face of bureaucratic obstacles.

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