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Loss of citizenship, also referred to as loss of nationality, is the event of ceasing to be a citizen of a country under the nationality law of that country.

Cameroonians, thanks to the well-being they seek and according to their will, in defiance of the law, acquire and repudiate foreign nationalities, accept contracts that are not compatible with the Nationality Code of Cameroon. The texts and codes that govern Cameroonian nationality are therefore very little known. However, these texts are clear: as a result of certain actions and certain choices, it is possible to no longer be Cameroonian.

Flaubert A. was born in Cameroon in 1963. After completing his higher education, he landed a job outside the borders of his country. After several years of service, Flaubert A. chooses to adopt the nationality of his host country. For the holidays, Flaubert A. takes a plane to Cameroon. At the airport, he is forced to take an entry visa like any foreigner. Unfortunately, he can no longer enjoy his original nationality because under the terms of Article 31 of Law No. 1968-LF-3 of June 11, 1968 on the Nationality Code,

“the adult Cameroonian, who voluntarily acquires or retains a foreign nationality, loses Cameroonian nationality”.

Like Flaubert A., there are many Cameroonians who make choices or take actions that cause them to lose their Cameroonian nationality. If the question of nationality is very controversial in Cameroon, the loss of nationality is even more so. The devolution of Cameroonian nationality is based on Law No. 1968-LF-3 of June 11, 1968 on the Cameroonian Nationality Code.

It thus prescribes, inter alia, in its Chapter IV, Articles 31 to 35, the conditions for the loss of nationality. The loss of nationality is done automatically or automatically, voluntarily by repudiation and forfeiture. Flaubert’s case is an example of automatic or full loss of nationality. Indeed, to have acquired a foreign nationality, he is forced to present a visa to enter a country he believes to be his own. We remember the indignation of Yannick NOAH, a few years ago, and more recently of Richard BONA, who found it indecent to be asked for a visa to return to a country they considered their own. As another reason for the automatic loss of Cameroonian nationality,

This case of loss of nationality is a sanction for an attitude of defiance vis-à-vis the authority of the State. However, the withdrawal of a nationality can only be legally valid if the person concerned is of age, majority being a sine qua non condition for the automatic loss of nationality.

The repudiation of nationality

Valentine O., a 35-year-old Cameroonian, decides to seal her love through marriage with Diouf N., a Senegalese who has shared her life for a few years. During the process leading to the celebration of the marriage, Valentine O. decides to give up her Cameroonian nationality and acquire that of her husband, Senegal now being her new country.

She voluntarily chooses to lose her original nationality. We then speak of the repudiation of nationality, which is set out in Article 31 paragraph (b) of the 1968 Law, which stipulates that: “loses Cameroonian nationality whoever exercises the right to repudiate the quality of Cameroonian … ” .

If repudiation automatically entails the loss of Cameroonian nationality, it is still necessary, for its validity, that

Valentine O. acquires or may acquire the nationality of Diouf N., by application of the latter’s national law. This precaution expressed by article 32 paragraph (2) of the Law of 1968 makes it possible to avoid the risks of statelessness in the event of repudiation.

The other case of repudiation is that of children born on Cameroonian territory but of foreign parents. These children automatically acquire Cameroonian nationality by being born on the territory. Once the majority is obtained, they will be free to repudiate the Cameroonian nationality or to keep it.

Unlike cases of automatic loss of nationality which do not require any act or procedure, repudiation is sanctioned by a procedure of the competent authority. The procedure which sanctions the cases of repudiation of nationality is regulated by article 36 paragraph (c) of the Law of 1968. Any action is brought before the magistrate or the president of the competent civil jurisdiction. For persons outside the national territory, the declaration is made before the diplomatic or consular agents representing Cameroon in their host countries as specified in article 37.

The question of nationality is very controversial in Cameroon, the loss of nationality is even more so…

Cameroonian Nationality

Deprivation of nationality

It only concerns foreigners who have acquired Cameroonian nationality. The forfeiture of nationality is therefore this sanction which consists in depriving an individual of Cameroonian nationality, because of his behavior unworthy or prejudicial to the interests of the State. Secession, civil war, spreading false news, revolution, armed gangs, insurrection, hostility against the homeland, intelligence with agents of a foreign power, non-denunciation, intelligence with the subjects or agents of an enemy power in time of war and various breaches of national defence secrecy, are, among others, the behaviours that lead to the forfeiture of nationality.

If for the repudiation and the automatic loss of nationality it is easy to find examples, cases of forfeiture of nationality have not yet been recorded so far in our country.

The consequences of the loss of Cameroonian nationality

The loss of nationality in itself being already a sanction in the sense that one is easily exposed to the risks of statelessness, there are also consequences on the civil, political, economic and social levels.

The loss of nationality affects the individual’s electoral capacity, eligibility for political office, freedom of movement through submission to the conditions of entry and exit from the territory, equal right of access to Justice .

On the economic level, the consequences are measured in terms of the tax obligations that weigh on foreigners. The duties of stamps, passports, residence and resident cards which oscillate between 50,000 and 700,000 FCFA. In the same vein, specific conditions are applied to foreign persons who wish to become owners.

On the social level, the access of foreigners to Cameroonian training schools is revised upwards. Obviously, in Cameroon, the law on the Nationality Code in general and the articles on the loss of this nationality are clear and established, even if for some, Law n°1968-LF-3 of June 11, 1968 is over 50 years old.



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