story by crossriverwatch admin
Legal Defence and Assistance Project on Tuesday asked the Ecowas Court of Justice, Abuja to order the Federal Government to pay to each of Bakassi Peninsula indigenes N5m as “resettlement compensation or inconvenience allowance”.
This came as literary icon, Dr. Elechi Amadi, said President Goodluck Jonathan’s failure to challenge the judgment of the International Court of Justice on Bakassi was an impeachable offence.
The group, in a suit it filed on Tuesday, accused the Federal Government of agreeing to cede Bakassi to Cameroon without the consent of the people.
It also wants the court to declare that “the refusal” of the government to resettle the people “into another conducive cultural socio-economic setting” constitutes a “total violation” of their rights to freedom from discrimination.
The group is also seeking, among other prayers, an order restraining the Federal Government from handing over or forcibly ejecting the people of Bakassi “from their homeland”.
According to LEDAP, the ICJ judgment ceding the peninsula to Cameroon in 2002, was based on “the Green Tree Agreement” which was reached without the consent of the people.
The group therefore contends that since the agreement fell short of the people’s consent, it amounts to the violation of their right to self-determination and “cultural identity/nationality and socio – economic base”.
The plaintiff’s counsel, Chino Obiagwu, stated in his statement of facts, “The people of Bakassi were not carried along in entering the above agreement in accord with their fundamental rights to self-determination under the relevant international laws and conventions.”
LEDAP wants the court to hold that such rights violation was “degrading and dehumanising of their persons and origin.”
Also a foremost writer, Captain Elechi Amadi (retd), has called on the National Assembly, to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan, if he fails to appeal against the World Court judgment on Bakassi Peninsula.
The president, through the Information Minister, Labaran Maku, had said the Federal Government was okay with the World Court judgment.
Addressing newsmen in his country-home, Aluu, Rivers State, yesterday, Elechi Amadi said he was shocked by President Jonathan’s stance, in spite of the resolutions passed in the Senate and House of Representatives, and historical facts recently unearthed by historians.
Elechi said: “I cringe with sheer horror at the fact that the Federal Government can abandon without qualms, a group of Nigerians large enough to make up a Local Government Area which is recognized in the constitution, that it can ignore the National Assembly set up by Nigerians on the excuse that their resolutions have no force of law; and that it could treat a weighty matter of this nature with such reprehensible levity.”
The writer continued: “What if the President had come from Bakassi? Would he be so nonchalant about ceding of Bakassi to the Cameroun? Are the people of Bakassi second class citizens? Are they not covered by the UN Charter on Fundamental Human Rights? Whose interest is the President serving anyway? Nigeria’s or his? The greatest duty of any government anywhere in the world is to protect and defend its innocent citizens.
Advanced countries fight to the bitter end over the rights of even a single citizen.” The engineer-turned Novelist and author of the Popular Novel, The Concubine, said as the ancestral home of thousands of Nigerians, if the judgment is not appealed against, it would only reduce the indigenes to modern day slaves. “The President should rise to the challenges, he has no option, he is under oath to defend citizens of the country. He should come out as the Commander-in-Chief and defend Nigeria and its people.
He has no option. Whether he succeeds in the appeal is another thing, but his refusal to take action is what is incredible. His name is Ebele (Compassion), he has shown no compassion on the Bakassi people. We still have fifteen days to go, if he refuses, he has failed to act as Commander-in-Chief. It calls for his impeachment. It is dereliction of duty. This is a fundamental issue,” he fumed. He said the President would be wrong to think that other countries would regard him as a gentleman and man of honour, if he failed to appeal against the judgment. “… Then, he is grossly mistaken.
The contrary will be the case. They will think he is spineless and irresponsible,” he said. He said the Federal Government appeared to have mortgaged its conscience by mere promise of helping to resettle displaced persons, adding that evidence so far showed that its effort in this regard was feeble and without real interest, attention or feelings. He said: “But financial or material assistance is not the issue.
Bakassi is the ancestral home of thousands of Nigerians. To uproot and relocate them forcibly for no just cause is brutal and sadistic.” The author argued that if Bakassi Peninsula belonged to Cameroun, it would have ceded to Cameroun the time same Southern Cameroun which was part of Nigeria, was given back to Cameroun.
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