By Francis Tim Mbom & Walter Wilson Nana
The mortal remains of Fako based lawyers and their wives who died recently in a road accident were honoured on Friday, November 16, at the Southwest Court of Appeal.
SDF Chairman, Fru Ndi, ushered by Barrister Stephen Njilla into court premises where fallen lawyers were laid
The deceased included Barristers Emmanuel Mbaubo Ambilichu and David Oben Nkongho, Mrs. Sophie Oben, Mrs Theresia Eta-Besong Jnr, Mrs Catherine Diame and Mrs Mary Forcha. They were all buried over the weekend.
Bishop Bushu prays for the deceased
Their final traverse to eternity began with the removal of their remains from the Buea Hospital Mortuary at about 10 am. Accompanied by a crowd of over 5000 mourners who had turned up from all over the country, the remains were processed to the Southwest Court of Appeal, Buea, where an ecumenical service and other tributes were said to bid the fallen legal gurus and their wives a safe return to God's Kingdom.
Led by the Bishop of Buea Diocese, Mgr Immanuel Bushu, Reverend Frederick Atug of the Presbyterian Church Buea Station and Arung Bate of the Evangelical Bible Missions in Limbe, the service went on in prayers, Biblical readings and a sermon by the Bishop.
Lawyers convey casket to court premises
"Grant them life, happiness and peace. Let them pass in safety through the gates of death and live forever with all your saints in the light you promised to Abraham and to all his descendants in faith…Pardon their sins and give them eternal life in your Kingdom," Bishop Bushu prayed.
Bishop Bushu also implored the Almighty to grand to the bereaved families and friends the courage to take heart.He urged the thousands of mourners to use the occasion as a day of reflection. Drawing inspiration from St Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, he said death was a mystery and that is why when people die, many will always ask questions.
"Our bodies are not permanent; they break easily and we must handle them with care," he said. "And when the Lord decides to call us to his House," he added," everything else stops for us in this life."
Magistrates, Lawyers leading procession to court
"The death of our brothers, sisters, husbands, relatives and sons that we are mourning now, is a call for all of us that today is for them and tomorrow is for us. Jesus tells us to be ready at all times, because it comes at a moment we do not know," he said.Pastor Bate on his part, said grace and mercy were to the chosen of the Lord and protection to His holy ones.
On his part, Reverend Atug reminded mourners that Christ urges them not
to be worried for He has gone to prepare a place in his "Father's
House" where there are "many rooms" for all.
The funeral service was laced with tributes from the President of the Southwest Court of Appeal, Chief Justice Lucy Asuagbor, Representative of the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Attorney General of the Southwest, Justice Solomon Mbah Njei, the Bar Council President, Barrister Charles Tchuongang.
Prof. Victor Njoh, UB Registrar, Mbella Moki & Fru Ndi
In his tribute, Tchoungang said the death of Barrister Ambilichu, who was one of the prominent members of the Bar Council Executive, and that of Barrister Oben had come to add, to the deaths of two of their members who perished during the Mbanga Pongo air crash of late in Douala. "Why such deaths in so short a time?," Tchoungang pondered.
He remarked that it was an immense tragedy both for the deceased and
those mourning. According to him, though their colleagues were dead and
gone, their memories will continue to live vividly in their hearts as
though they were, yet, alive.
Assistance For Oben's Kids
The Bar President promised that the Bar was going to reflect on the possibility of setting up a fund to cater for the four kids orphaned on that fateful October 27, when their father and mother, Barrister Oben and wife, Sophie, both perished in the accident. Tchougang was upbeat that together they could do something to assist the kids.
Judiciary Pleads For Mercy
While the Bar is grieving the deaths of four of theirs lost in a pretty short time, the President of the Southwest Court of Appeal in her tribute sounded even gloomier as she counted their own losses in, yet, not so distant a time.
"In less than a year this Province has lost eight lawyers, one magistrate, two pupil bailiffs, one member of the registry corps, three wives of lawyers…" Chief Justice Asuagbor bemoaned.
Asuagbor pleaded to God for mercy on the judiciary corps in the Southwest Province. We've had our own fair share. We're too frail to continue receiving such pains. The judiciary corps in the Southwest Province is mourning, the death toll in less than a year is alarming, losing eight lawyers and two pupil magistrates."
Mourning their fallen colleagues
According to Justice Asuagbor, despite all the knowledge man possesses, it was still not enough to comprehend the mysteries of God's ways."Despite all that we possess as qualifications, it has become obvious to me that our knowledge is too little to understand the mysteries of God's ways nor can we question why God acts the way he does" she said.
To Justice Mbah, the Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals' representative, such deaths could have only been the influence of the devil. He recalled that Bible guarantees every human who trusts in the Lord a life span of 70 years and 80 for the strong."It is not God's desire that we die like this in ghastly accidents. This is the work of the devil," he said.
On behalf of the deceased families, Barrister Eta Besong Junior thanked all those who had come, prayed and helped to lighten their burden of grief. He said it would be very discourteous if some people or family members would be coming, rather, to start haggling over left property of the deceased ones.
"The bereaved families are sincerely touched by your presence here. How can we thank you? Your presence in our respective homes, words of comfort, telephone calls and all, have inspired us to live on," he said.
The over four hours of prayers and mourning, interspersed with dirges from two choirs drawn from the PCC and Catholic Church.The funeral programme then led to the residences of the deceased persons in Buea and Limbe. While the remains of Late Mrs. Eta Besong stayed in Buea, the others were ferried to Limbe for an all night vigil.
Fru Ndi Consoles Eta Bisong while former Mayor John Mokake looks on
On Saturday, November 17, late Oben and wife were buried in Limbe while the remains of Ambilichu were conveyed to his native Ngie village in the Northwest for interment. Late Mrs Diame's remains also left Limbe for Meme Division while Late Mrs Forcha was taken back to her native home in Menji, Fontem Sub Division.
PCC Funeral Service
Later at a funeral service for the repose of the soul of Late Mrs Eta-Besong, Saturday, November 17 at the PCC Buea Station, Rt. Rev. Dr. Nyansako-Ni-Nku in a homily, questioned mourners if they would be ready to meet God now if they are summoned.
He said Christian faith is beyond tragedy. "Theresa is working with Christ in white. She believed in the faith of resurrection," the Pastor added.The clergy saw in Theresa a charming personality, with a smile, yet death struck her with such fatality.
He told the congregation, the Eta-Besongs, Fogams to cry, but not like people without faith.
Rev. Nku found in the deceased, a woman, who kept her garments clean in the midst of people who are shrouded with uncleanliness.
Mrs Theresa Fogam Lepkuna Eta-Besong was born January 6, 1956, in Tiko, to Gabriel Fogam and Catherine Melingi. Until her death, she was Chief of Finance and Administration at the Legal Department, Magistrate Court, Buea. Her numerous social activities included Board Secretary-COIC, Buea and Executive Member-P&T Credit Union, Buea.
Barrister Emmanuel Mbaubo Ambilichu was born December 26 1966 in Bota, Victoria, now Limbe to John Ambilichu and Helen Ambilichu, both living. He was sworn in as Advocate of the Supreme Court of Cameroon in 1994. He founded Ambilichu Law Chambers, which later became Ambilichu & Co Law Firm.
In the exercise of his profession in which Ambilichu exhibited wit, courage, fearlessness and intelligence from one court to the other, he travelled to many places in Cameroon, Africa, Europe and North America. 1996, he took the hands of then Miss Seraphine Tabe for marriage. He has left her behind with four kids; two boys, two girls. Amongst other commitments, he was a member of Cameroon Bar Council.
Barrister and Mrs David Oben Nkongho united even in death. The former enrolled Solicitor and Advocate of the Cameroon Bar Association on October 2 1998. The wife, Sophie was a teacher of Government Primary School, Limbe.
Mrs Maria Forcha was born in 1957. She was a teacher of Economics in Government High School, GHS, Limbe. She is the wife of Barrister Gallus Forcha.
Mrs Katty Mejame Diame was born 1964. She was Assistant Chief of Personnel, Limbe Urban Council. She is the wife of Barrister Diame Mballe.
It should be recalled that the deceased lawyers and their wives died in an accident while returning from Bangem, Kupe- Muanengouba Division, Southwest Province, Saturday, October 27, where they went to bury a colleague and friend, Barrister Charly Sone.
They were involved in a fatal car accident, along the Njombe-Douala highway, which claimed the lives of 23 persons and 36 others seriously wounded. Some are still receiving medical attention in hospitals across Cameroon.