Some 80 households located on 88 hectares of land in the Sisia neighbourhood of Bamenda III Subdivision, Mezam Division of the North West Region, are today under serious threat after the area was officially declared unfit for human settlement. A study by Global Consulting for ERA-Cameroon, reveals that settlement on the stiff slopes of Sisia Quarter with its flood-prone areas, narrow roads and unplanned buildings, exposes inhabitants to high risks. Ngeh William, an environmental planning consultant with Global Consulting for ERA-Cameroon said that the neighbourhood features a relief with 16,000 inhabitants settled on 172.2 hectares, 88 of which are not suitable for construction. Yet, the quest for shelter on increasingly scarce land in the City of Bamenda is not helping matters.
It is against this backdrop that stakeholders recently endorsed a slum upgrading programme for Sisia neighbourhood. The decision was reached after discussions between Sisia development associations, Bamenda City Council authorities, FEICOM, traditional leaders, the PDUE, etc. The slum upgrading programme includes constructing drainage channels, roads, providing potable water, public and community facilities, town planning, restructuring, resettlement and consolidation of land security. It emerged from the Bamenda workshop that Sisia is a slum settlement because it harbours people who lack durable housing, sufficient living area, access to improved water and sanitation facilities, etc. North West Governor, Adolphe Lele Lafrique and the Inspector General in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Ali Salihou, oversaw the Bamenda workshop. Conceived by the UN-Habitat in partnership with the European Union Commission and African Caribbean and Pacific States, the upgrading programme aims to reduce the population living in slum areas, enhance the process of decentralisation and improve urban governance.