Felix Agbor Balla
Felix Agbor Anyior Nkongho
August 23, 1970
Kumba, Southwest Region, Cameroon
|Residence||Buea, Southwest Region, Cameroon|
|Education||Licence en Droit, LL.B., Masters in International and European Comparative Law, L.L.M. in International Human Rights and International Criminal Law, Conflict Prevention in Africa Diploma from The Hague Academy of International Law and University of Leipzig.|
|Alma mater||Saint Joseph's College, Sasse, CCAS Kumba, University of Yaoundé I (LLB in English Private Law),Nigerian Law School,Free University of Brussels,University of Notre Dame and Leipzig University|
|Occupation||Activist, Human rights lawyer, Freedom fighter.|
|Organization||Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa|
|Known for||Political activism, Nonviolent Resistance|
|Movement||Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC)|
Agbor Nkongho aka Balla (born Felix Agbor Anyior Nkongho) is an Anglophone Cameroonian human right lawyer who is the president of the Fako Lawyers Association, vice president of the African Bar Association in charge of Central Africa, founder and chairman of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa and founder of Agbor Nkongho Law Firm an activist and freedom fighter who was arrested on 17 January 2017. Agbor Nkongho was born on August 23, 1970. He is a leading member of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) which has been banned and its activities declared illegal in Cameroon.
Early life and career
Agbor Nkongho is a native from Manyu division, Southwest Region, Cameroon. Popularly known as Agbor-Balla in the ghettos of Great Soppo, Buea where he grew up. He attended CBC Primary School Great Soppo Buea, before moving to Saint Joseph’s College, Sasse, Buea where he passed the GCE Ordinary Levels in Form Four which was one class before the final year of secondary studies. He went to CCAS Kumba and then to the Musole GCE Evening Classes after he was wrongfully dismissed from CCAS Kumba for subversive writing popularly known as “Lavoir” which challenged was an article challenging abuses and wrong actions by school administrators, this marked his start of activism in his youthful days. Agbor Nkongho described his dismissal as a blessing in an interview, because it got him a meeting with Bate Besong, renowned Anglophone playwright, poet and critic. He studied at the University of Yaoundé I and graduated with (LLB in English Private Law). He also studied at the Nigerian Law School, the Free University of Brussels, the University of Notre Dame and Leipzig University. He worked as a researcher at the Centre for International Law in Belgium, as an assistant legal officer at Sierra Leone International Criminal Court, a human right officer at United Nation office in Afghanistan, and Congo.
On 17 January 2017, it was reported that Balla had been arrested with Fontem Neba who is a university lecturer in Buea by Cameroon’s police ordered by the government. He was arrested in connection with the Anglophone problem after organizing peaceful protests to protect the culture and rights of the Anglophone Cameroonians in the form of sit down strikes with more than 2000 Anglophone lawyers, Ghost town and shutdown of schools under the banner of the Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC), which was banned and its activities declared illegal few days before his arrest.
Charges and military court trial
It was reported by multiple sources that Balla and others were charged on eight counts and may face a death penalty for treason, terrorism, civil unrest, jeopardising the peace and unity of the Republic of Cameroon. Balla's trial was to begin on 1 February 2017 and later rescheduled for 13 February. On 23 March, Balla's trial at the Yaounde military court tribunal was adjourned for another hearing on 27 April, and then on 24 May and then 27 July. On 31 August, President Paul Biya issued a presidential decree ordering the Yaounde military court tribunal to release Balla and others in connection with the protest in Northwest and Southwest regions of the country. On 15 April 2015, according to an interview, Balla told journalists in Buea, "I am ready to die in defense of Common Law".
Reaction of International bodies
The Law Society of Upper Canada reacted immediately to the arrest and detention of Balla and appealed to the Government of Cameroon to immediately and unconditionally release Balla and to respect the full functions of the lawyer professions without any intimidation. On 27 March 2017, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organisation urged the Government of Cameroon to immediately release Balla and to drop the charges against him. Professor Sean O’Brien, director for International Human Right Law, who taught Balla at the University of Notre Dame, filed a petition to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the immediate release of Balla.
Release of Agbor Nkongho
On 30 August 2017, through a presidential decree, Balla, Neba Fontem and Paul Abine Ayah were released and all charges against them dropped. Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa said that the decision by the government of Cameroon to release Balla and others was good news for everyone and condemned their arrest in the first place. Agbor Balla continues with his activities for the freedom of southern Cameroons. This has been done via the creation of Tasks Forces to liberate many in jail and He still continues to press on the government of La Republique du Cameroun to liberate all.
By his political ideology, he is a believer of a two state federation of equal status in Cameroon as a solution to resolve the Anglophone crisis. A position he has maintained for over 17 years of his endeavours in the fight for the liberation of the Anglophone community in Cameroon. [TheOverseer.com]
- Bonteh (18 January 2017). "Profile: Who is Dr. Nkongho Felix Balla Agbor". Bonteh Blog. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- "Cameroon: Trial against lawyer Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla". Lawyers for Lawyers. 25 February 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- "Take action for Felix Agbor Anyior Nkongho". Front Line Defenders. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- Teke, Elvis (18 January 2017). "SCNC and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium banned". CrTV. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- Nforngwa, Eugene N (17 January 2017). "The Government Just Banned SCNC and Consortium". The Standard Tribune. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- Wager, Denise (31 January 2017). "NDLS Human Rights Lawyer Charged with Treason in Cameroon". The Law School, University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- Lee, Matthew Russell (22 March 2017). "Amid Cameroon's 65-Day Internet Cut-Off, ICP Asks UN About Agbor-Balla, UN Stonewalls". Inner City Press. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- "Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Anti-Torture Initiative Call for the Immediate Release of Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla and for the charges against him to be dropped in their entirety". Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. 27 March 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- "The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the arrest and detention of lawyer Felix Agbor Balla in Cameroon". The Law Society of Upper Canada. 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- Ndi, Ndi Eugene (11 October 2016). "Cameroon lawyers begin work boycott". Africa Review. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- Maclean, Ruth (2 February 2017). "Fears for jailed activists as Cameroon cracks down on anglophone minority". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- "Agbor Balla and co trial adjourn again to 24th May 2017". Beta Tinz. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- Anchunda, Benly (29 June 2017). "Anglophone Crisis: case adjourned to July 27". CrTV. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- "Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla detained and charged in military court on eight counts". Front Line Defenders. 21 March 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- Akwei, Ismail (30 August 2017). "Cameroon president orders charges dropped, release of Anglophone leaders". Africanews. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- Associated Press (30 August 2017). "Cameroon Releases Anglophone Activists in Effort to Pacify". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- "Cameroon: Release of Anglophone leaders a relief but others still languish in prison" (Press release). Amnesty International. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.