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Location of the Council

Menji Council was created out of the former Nweh Mundani Council by Decree No 95/082 of 24th April 1995. Menji is 42 km from Dschang, 45 km from Bakebe which is found along the Kumba-Mamfe road and 256 km from Buea (capital of the South West Region) through Kumba and Bakebe. From Yaounde to Menji through Dschang, is a distance of 420km.

Menji council area is bounded to the South West by Tinto municipality in Manyu Division, to the East by the Fongo-Tongo municipality in the West Region and to the South by Nguti municipality in Kupe Muanenguba Division. Wabane municipality bounds Menji to the North-West, Alou municipality, to the North. It has a total surface area of 106 km2

Description of the biophysical environment

The council area is found in the southern parts of the Division and has montane forest land. Menji, the capital is some 900m above sea level.


The climate in this area is of a typical Cameroonian-Montane type, made up of two seasons - the wet season lasting about seven (7) months and the dry season which is shorter. The wet season is from the month of April to November and sometimes to December with a lot of heavy rainfall in the months of September and October, while the dry season is from December to April; with occasional rainfall during this period. Maximum rainfall in the division has slightly been above 900mm The Council Area has high temperatures than in any part of the division.


The soils are made up of shallow ferruginous materials derived from ancient basalt especially in the areas of Ndungweh and Quibekwu. There exist some patches of laterite in the down south of the council area. In the northern part of the council area is ferrallitic soil derived from granite. These soils are enriched by a high rate of humus formation following the high rate of leaf fall and decay. However, taken into consideration that the amount rainfall is high in the area, the soil is heavily leached and the rate of erosion is consequently high especially in the upper and middle Essoh-Attah and towards Njoagwi.

3.2.3. Relief

The landscape of the Council Area is that that looks as if it were hastily made, magnificent, uneven and difficult to inhabit. It has awe-inspiring mountainous scenery with its accompanying steep sometimes perilous roads and paths crossed by rushing streams. The main diction used in describing the area are hills and valleys.


There are many rivers and streams that run down the hilly topography of the Council Area. Even though some of these streams are drying off as a result of intensive anthropogenic activities on their catchments and watersheds, the rivers Bechou, Bejie, Efrue, Ntsembue, Betenten, Betsue, Mbi, Mbra, Mbelep Agonanyi, Geleh, Bejeuh and Ntse-chah ( which the Germans mispronounced Cha-cha and where the name Foreke cha-cha is derived) along with other upland streams are found in this municipality. Most of them have lost their vitality and volumes. The characteristics of the streams in this area are:

- The stream regimes are both equatorial and tropical.

- Most streams fluctuate in volume, reduce in the dry season and full in the wet season.

- Apart from River Betenten that demarcates the boundary between Upper Bayang and Fontem Sub Division, streams are relatively small in volume to possess enormous resource potentials.

- All the streams have rugged beds and therefore flow is in series of rapids.

- All the streams are all in their youth ages. Winds

The area is swept by two types of winds: the northeast Hamattan wind from the east-west plateau brings along the dry season and the southeast monsoon from the west brings rain. The winds are strong and sometimes destroy houses, crops, farmlands and trees. This is sometimes in April.

Flora and Vegetation

The council area has an abundant forest flora, ecosystem and biological interventions. The flora found in this council area is quite rare. Mbin-mak, Mbin-bellua, Mbin-andu and Mbin-essoh are the three forest blocks found in the Menji Council Area. Ethno-botanical data collected shows that many plant species are used for traditional medicines in the area. That may be the reason why there is a plethora of traditional doctors found in the municipality.

The Council Area is remarkable that natural ecological system of None Timber Forest Products (NTFP) is sustainably managed with agro-ecological system characterised with crops like cocoa, coffee, palm trees, kola nuts njansang, eru, cashew, monkey kola, bitter kola, etc.

Common species of trees in the area include: palm trees (elaies guineesis), iroko (chloroplora excelsa), silk cotton tree (cerba pentandra), ebony (piptader dernistrum spp), Indian bamboo (bambusa multiplex var alphonse) and a series of climbers among which are wild rubber.

Anthropogenic activities such as agriculture expansion, hunting, deforestation and degradation so as to meet up with their subsistence demands and profit maximisation are mounting pressure on these flora resources that has resulted in the degradation of the forest blocks which are rich in biodiversity and indispensable for carbon sequestration.

This therefore has in fact affected the community’s management of the agriculture resources, water supply and disease control.

Fortunately the difficult terrain of the Council Area (montane forest area) has meant that the forest cannot be rapidly degraded due to the fact that some places remain inaccessible.


The Menji Council Area is also very rich in fauna biodiversity. From the research conducted by The Environment and rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) a nongovernmental organisation based in the area documents that the council area is also very rich in the fauna wildlife. Some of the world’s rarest species of primates are found in the Mbin-mak, Mbin-bellua, Mbin-andu and Mbin-essoh forests blocks such as gorillas, chimpanzees, baboons, monkeys, etc. Other fauna found in the area are elephants, deer, antelopes, birds, leopards, porcupines, grass-cutter, giant rats, etc. These rare wildlife species found in the council area are a treasure for tourist attraction if preserved. Due to pressure on the forest for economic activities and for subsistence through agriculture, hunting and trapping, these species are threatened.

Protected sites

Even though no serious conservation activity is going on in this area to protect some of these sites for degradation and extinction, ERuDeF is making giant strides in collaboration with the government to see that some of these biodiversity are protected from total degradation. That is why the NGO has been working relentlessly in what it calls Lebialem Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative.

History and People of the Municipality

The Origin of the People

All evidence points to the fact that the Bangwa as we now know them are not an ancient people, whose origins are lost in the dim past. Even paramount chiefs, who have the longest pedigrees, only trace their dynasties back seven or eight generations; and from the material evidence of their ancestors’ skulls and the strict rule of father-to-son succession it may be surmised that the Bangwa have inhabited the mountain regions for less than two hundred years. Legend tells of the founding of the chiefdoms; both Bangwa and Bamileke accounts have many common elements.

Briefly it tells of a hunter who came from the Mbo or Banyang forests with his following (his family and the classic nine servants) where he met the Beketshe, a loosely-grouped hunting and gathering people who lived a naked, nomadic existence in the wooded mountains without the advantages of huts or agriculture. The forest hunter, with his guns and through guile, deprived these people of their proprietary rights to the land. These Beketshe, from whom some contemporary Bangwa still claim descent, are described in innumerable stories as brainless, fickle and incredibly gullible, and are a constant source of amusement to sophisticated Bangwa. A common myth tells how he hoarded leopard skins, ivory tusks, lengths of stencilled blue and white cloth; the possession of these symbols of royalty ranked him immediately and indisputably as chief.


The population for the 60 planning units used for the participatory diagnosis was estimated at 27875, 51% of who are female and 49% male. With a total surface area of 106km2, the population density is evaluated to be approximately 263 persons/km2 far above the national average. This indicates an increasing pressure on the environment and its resources.

Ethnic Groups and inter-ethnic relations

The main ethnic group in this municipality is the Nweh people who are distributed in the three Fondoms of Lebang, Essoh-Attah and Njoagwi. Some of these people are intermarried with neighbours such as the Bamilekes, the Mbos, the Bayangs, the Mundanis of the Wabane Council Area, the indigenes of the Alou Council Area (Lower and Upper Nwehs) and a few from the Northwest Region.

There are also an increasing number of non natives who are civil servants, businessmen and various international volunteers working for the Italian Catholic Movement, the Focolare Movement based at Nveh in Menji.


The main religion in this area is Christianity and the majority of the Christians are the Roman Catholic Christians. A few Muslims are also found in the area.

The socio-economic environment

The economic activities of the people of the municipality are mainly farming, small scale livestock production and hunting. Historically, communities have lived and depended on farming, hunting and gathering in the forests for their subsistence and livelihoods. These activities have been in fact the only source of their socio-economic mainstay although yields are low. This is due to poor soils, diseases and an ageing population. There are no processing facilities and little external investment. There are therefore few opportunities for employment. Combined with the collapse of Robusta coffee prices since the mid 80s, the conditions have become so difficult because rate of rural exodus. A small quantity of livestock production is also carried out in the municipality; where cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and fowls are produced on a very small scale.

The rate of scolarisation at primary school level is quite high, at about 90%. Access to health facilities is still limited, with most of them concentrated around the greater Menji - Azi area. There is a high incidence of Malaria. The prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS is high although this has been explained as being due to the large numbers of infected persons who return from the towns and cities to the area for treatment in the good mission hospital –Mary Health of Africa.

areas could be transformed or decreed protected sites. If this is done it could be a haven for eco-tourism in the council area in particular and in the other council areas in general.

Mineral Resources

From the research carried out from primary and secondary sources no mineral resources have yet been discovered in the Menji Council Area. It is however believed that the bauxite deposits at Fongo-Tongo municipality in Menoua Division could be stretched to the Menji municipality.