The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has promised the continued support of the UN for the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission. Speaking today, he congratulated both countries for peacefully implementing the 2002 ruling of the International Court of Justice.
“The UN will continue to work with your respective governments to promote cross-border economic activity to benefit your people. The UN country teams in Nigeria and Cameroon will jointly support you,” he said.
Ki-moon highlighted some progress of the commission, including the withdrawal and transfer of authority in the Lake Chad area and in the Bakassi Peninsula, the final agreement on the maritime boundary, the already-agreed land boundary covering 1,700 kilometers, and the absence of border incidents since the process began.
The peninsula, located on the Gulf of Guinea, had been the subject of intense and sometimes violent disputes between the West African neighbours for decades until they agreed to a United Nations-backed process to settle the matter.
The ICJ resolved the issue with a ruling in 2002. The verdict was followed by the 2006 Greentree Agreement – signed under the auspices of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan – under which Nigeria recognized Cameroonian sovereignty over Bakassi peninsula.
The Artorney-General, Mohammed Bello Adoke, who represented Nigeria, said the commission has strengthened historical and cultural bounds that exist between Nigeria and Cameroon.
“I wish to assure you of the continued commitment of the Nigerian government to the peaceful and successful implementation of the judgment of the International Court of Justice, and the determination to meet all our obligation under the judgment,” he said. “This has been clearly demonstrated by the peaceful handover by Nigeria of the Bakassi Peninsula and over 32 villages in the Lake Chad region to Cameroon.”
Adoke also appealed for further support of the UN in the demarcation process.
“A lot remain to be done in this regard, which requires the deployment of technical and financial resources. We also request support in the area of assistance in resettling population displace as a result of the implementation of the judgment,” he said.
Minister Maurice Kamto, a delegate from the Cameroon Ministry of Justice – who represented Cameroon, also called attention to the needs of the commission in the implementation of the project.
“We are counting on you to raise awareness among potential donors for the demarcation trust funds. Currently, our resources are insufficient to finish the task,” he said to the Secretary-General.
He also mentioned those displaced by the demarcation. “Many Cameroonians have fled during the conflict between the two countries to other African countries. These people are still waiting; we cannot abandon them. We have hope that the UN’s efforts to assist them will be crowned with success,” he said.
Kamto also said Cameroon will continue to fully respect all its commitment under this agreement, until the end of the transition fade in 2013, so that peace will continue to prevail between the two countries.