House Report Asks Govt To Contest Bakassi Judgment

The House of Representatives report has said Nigeria must contest the ruling of the International Court of Justice October 10, 2002 which led to the ceding of Bakassi and the commencement of the delineation of the boundaries between Nigeria and Cameroun from Lake Chad to the Seas.

The report of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Justice and Special Duties interactive meeting with experts on the maritime boundaries of Nigeria and the future of Bakassi, was laid before the House yesterday.

The 10-page report, which has 10 findings and four recommendations said Cameroon obtained the judgment fraudulently.

The report in its findings, states: “The foundation on which the International Court of Justice ruling was predicated was “ab initio” faulty and that the Bakassi Pennisula on the basis of indigenous ownership, historical consolidation and effective occupation had always belonged to Nigeria.

“There is no concrete evidence of ratifications of the 1913 agreement on which the International Court of Justice ruling was predicated. The 1913 Anglo-German treaty which Cameroon rested its claim was not signed by both countries before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

“The memoirs of Prince Karl Max Lichnowsky, a former German Ambassador and a Principal negotiator of the 1913 proposed agreement was found. He was quoted to have regretted the non-entry into force of the Agreement. He said ‘The Treaty which offered us Extraordinary Advantages, a result of more than one year’s work was thus dropped. It would have been a public success for me.’

All the subsequent agreements made between Britain and Germany, as well as France explicitly recognised that the Bakassi Pennisula had been effectively occupied by the Efik ethnic group of Nigeria.

“After the World War I, Germany renounced all it’s territorial claims in 1919 and all the former territories controlled by Germany came under the mandate of the League of Nations.

“A plebiscite was conducted on March 18, 1961, in Southern Cameroon to determine communities that either wanted to stay in Cameroun or join Nigeria. Communities such as Manfe, Bamenda, Kumba, and Victoria participated. Bakassi never participated in the exercise because it was never in contention that Bakassi was Nigerian. (see appendix 1 Southern Cameroun Gazette published by EUEA Authority 18th March 1961, Vol.7,no.14 showing the result of voting by plebiscite districts of the whole Southern Cameroun. “it is worthy of note that the people of Bakassi had always participated in Nigerian elections.”

The committee said it “noted that the people of Bakassi have asserted unequivocally their unwillingness to and/or live under Cameroonian authority.”

The report’s recommendations read: “The committee hereby recommends that the Nigerian Government should as a matter of urgency and necessity approach the International Court of Justice for a review of the 2002 judgment on the basis of the following assertions.

(1) Article 61 of the International Court of Justice ICJ’s statute clearly defines the procedure to seek for review of its judgment. (see Appendix2.)

Based on the fresh evidence that was not known to the ICJ and more importantly the 10year timeframe stipulated by this statute, the Nigerian Government should proceed immediately to file for a review. (October 10-2012 is the deadline)

(2) The Green-Tree-Agreement entered into by the government of Nigeria and Cameroun as a result of the ICJ judgment which eventually led to the Nigerian government ceding Bakassi to Cameroun is a clear violation of Section 12(1) of the 199 constitution which states that “No Treaty between the federation and any other country shall have the force of law to the extent to which any such Treaty have been enacted into law by the National Assembly”. The implication is that the Gren-Tree-Agreement does not have the force of law.

(3) Increasing security challenges and the threat to our territorial integrity was put on full glare as it was noted that there is decreased piracy activity in the Somalia-Eritrea region due to heavy UN presence on those waters and a transfer of the nefarious activities to the waters surrounding Nigeria as a result of skeletal (if any) presence of the Nigerian Navy on the waters of Bakassi owing to constant conflict between the Nigerian Navy and the Cameroonian Navy as to who owns the waters. Vulnerability of the Bakassi water ways poses a huge security risk as we battle insecurity on land and we are faced with insecurity on water.

(4) The Nigerian government must realize that SELF DETERMINATION is a fundamental right to which Bakassi people can avail themselves of especially where a sovereign state abdicates her responsibility towards a constituent part of her territory. We must therefore do everything within our power to ensure that the people of Bakassi continue to feel,that they are part and parcel of their homeland.

Given the short window period on the issue, the report which was jointly signed by the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnena Elendu-Ukeje, Chairman House Committtee on Justice, Ali Ahmad and Chairman of the House Committee on Special Duties, Bello Kaoje, is mostly likely to be given accelerated consideration and its recommendation adopted this week.

The Nation

Leave a Reply