“If you have something to say, say it here on cameroonwebnews”

Cameroonwebnews| Site d’information et d’opinions sur l’actualité du Cameroun

Actualités, Opinions, Blogs et Videos sur le Cameroun

“Si vous avez quelque chose à dire, dites le sur cameroonwebnews”

Nigeria: Who Wants Obudu Mountain Ceded?

Posted by Admin on Aug 4th, 2010 and filed under Afrique. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry


In 2005, when I did the second and concluding segment of my book titled “Politics and Litigation in Contemporary Nigeria“, I dedicated three chapters in the 516-page work to analyse the negotiations that took place between Nigeria and her South-Eastern neighbor – Cameroon- on the contentious issue of who owns Bakassi Peninsula, even though it was controversially resolved by the International Court of Justice [ICJ] in favor of Cameroon.

The chapter four of that book encapsulated the entire gamut of my postulations on the dispute over the ownership of the oil rich peninsular which hitherto was part of Cross River State. I raised the question of whether the Nigerian – Cameroon Mixed Commission which was set up by both countries through the effort of the United Nations Secretary- General has failed in working out acceptable formula for implementing that unpopular 2002 verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

My concern was brought about by the decision in late October 2004, by the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission to transfer negotiations concerning Bakassi Peninsular transfer of ownership date to a parley between the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, President Paul Biya and the United Nations Secretary-General ,who at that time was the Ghanian-born Kofi Annan. The decision to refer further negotiations as stated above was reached after a stormy twelfth session because the members of the commission could not agree for a particular hand over date of the oil rich peninsular to Cameroon.

In that chapter, I warned both Cameroon and especially the Nigerian government to carry along the popular view of the inhabitants of Bakassi peninsular in reaching any decision regarding whether to respect the controversial World Court’s judgment and hand over the oil rich Island to Cameroon or not.

I had written thus; “Leaders of both countries believed that the aim of the commission would be actualised. But one critical factor that must be considered before the actualization of any future hand over time table is that the commission must consider the over-all interests of the inhabitants of the area most of whom desire to remain in Nigeria”.

Initially, I was persuaded by the strong argument put forward by the then Attorney General of the Federation that handed over Bakassi to Cameroon, Mr. Bayo Ojo, that doing that would foster stronger ties and promote greater peace between Nigeria and her neighbor-Cameroon. I was also persuaded to believe that Nigeria will enter the good book of the International community as a ‘good boy’ who always respects the voice of the ‘elders’ that preside over the United Nations. But I was wrong. I was dead wrong to have supported the hand over of Bakassi because the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of that oil rich region opposed the transfer.

The then Federal Government made the blunder of flouting section 12 of the Constitution by failing to get the approval of the National Assembly before the Green Tree agreement becomes a binding agreement between Nigeria and Cameroon. It was that so-called Green Tree Agreement entered into unilaterally by then President Obasanjo with his counterpart from Cameroon on the promptings of Annan that provided for the transfer of ownership of Bakassi by Nigeria to Cameroon in line with the ICJ verdict.

Secondly, we argued then that handing over Bakassi to another country without amending our constitution to excise that part from the federation of Nigeria will amount to a massive violation of the constitution, since Bakassi is recognized as part of Nigeria.

The inhabitants of Bakassi also went to the Federal High Court, Abuja Division to try to stop the transfer but they lost because of undue executive interference in the judiciary. The Nigerian government proceeded with the ill-advised hand over. Now the chicken has come home to roost. Millions of Nigerians who hitherto resided in Bakassi are now internally displaced and those who bravely chose to remain in Bakassi because of their fishing activities are constantly being harassed by the Cameroonian gendarmes.

As a little boy, I was used to hearing that “when you give somebody under your control allowance he will look for balance”. This saying is playing itself out because certain mercenaries working for the interest of Cameroon have gone to town with the rumour that Obudu Cattle Ranch which is a part of the current Cross River State would be ceded to Cameroon.

The Cross River government was so embarrassed by the wild rumour that it issued a press statement denying the rumour making rounds concerning the prestigious Obudu Mountain, in which billions of tax payers’ money has been invested by the Cross River State government which has now made it as one of the choicest destinations for international tourists.

The Cross River State government dismissed as “very unfortunate”, rumours that Cameroon was about to take over the Obudu Mountain Resort. A statement by Governor Liyel Imoke’s office said: “The rumours are not only malicious but a well articulated attempt from yet to be ascertained quarters to undermine the tourism initiatives of the state government, incite the passions of the indigenes of the state including the host community of the Obudu Mountain Resort, and generally cause disaffection and instability in the state.

“The relevant sector of the Nigeria-Cameroon International boundary has been well defined by the Anglo-German Agreement of 1913 and other legal instruments, which were upheld by the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 10th October, 2002. Following the judgment, the sector was traced and physically confirmed by the Nigeria-Cameroon Joint Technical Team (JTT), which comprises of technical experts from Nigeria and Cameroon as well as the United Nations in November/December last year”, according to Patrick Ugbe. Cross River governor’s spokesperson stated: “The delineation of the boundary line on satellite images map covering the whole boundary length made by the JTT using the Agreement does not put the Obudu Cattle Ranch or any of its part in the Republic of Cameroon. Also, during the field tracing, the ranch was found to be entirely in Nigeria territory. …”

I think the mistake of handing over Bakassi to Cameroon has now turn out to be fatal but certainly not irreversible because I see the possibility of the emergence of a patriotic government at the center with a strong president with Nigeria’s interest at heart who would one day stand up for what is right by reclaiming Bakassi Peninsular. Nigerians are waiting for such a bold leader..

Onwubiko heads Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria.

Leadership (Abuja)|4 August 2010|Emmanuel Onwubiko|

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts:

  1. Nigeria: Gaddafi Wants Nigeria Split Into States Daily Champion (Lagos)| 30 March 2010 | AllAfrica.com| Lagos —...
  2. Nigeria: Turai Angry With Jonathan Daily Champion| Saturday, 17 April 2010| Lagos — The gulf...
  3. Nigeria: Ministers Agonise Over Yar’Adua’s Removal George Oji and Chuks Okocha| 1 March 2010| This Day...
  4. Nigeria: Former Governor Arrested in Dubai ‘How Ibori Was Arrested, Granted Bail in Dubai‘ By Paul...
  5. Nigeria: How Yar’Adua Was Forced Home Leadership (Abuja) |March 1, 2010 | Iyobosa Uwugiaren Abuja —...

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

Leave a Reply