Oct 10 : C’River Assembly Urges FG to Appeal ICJ Judgment as Jonathan Calls Emergency Meeting

In Breaking News, Reports

by crossriverwatch admin

The Cross River State House of Assembly has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately file an application for the revision of the judgement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the ceding of oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to the Republic of Cameroon.

The call was contained in a four-point resolution reached by the Assembly on Tuesday, following a motion of Urgent Public Interest moved by the member representing Yakurr II State Constituency, Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams.

The state assembly also called on the National Assembly to take further action should the president fail to file the application. It resolved that the Federal Government needs to take the step to protect the people of Bakassi from incessant harassment and attacks from the Cameroonians.

Speaking earlier, mover of the motion, Hon. Williams, argued that the president swore to an oath of office to protect the lives of Nigerians and the territory called Nigeria, and he must be seen to be doing so.

Williams recalled that many well-meaning Nigerians have lent their voices to the struggle, and expressed disappointment that the president has been adamant.

In his own contributions, the member representing Abi State Constituency, Hon. John Gaul Lebo reiterated that the whole essence of the fight would be defeated if the application to the ICJ is not made by 10th October 2012.

Lebo regretted that urgent as the matter of the ceding of Bakassi is, the president and the attorney general of the federation have not given it the attention it deserves.

Speaking also, the member representing Biase State Constituency, Hon Ngim Okpo described the loss of Bakassi as one among many negative things forced down on Cross River, and thanked Governor Liyel Imoke for providing a platform for the national discourse.

In his own contribution, the member representing Calabar South II State Constituency, Hon. Joseph Bassey, stated that Bakassi was given out by some greedy Nigerians for selfish reasons and lamented that the president has not given the issue the same attention he has given to issues affecting the Ijaws and other ethnic groupings.

Deputy Speaker, Rt Hon Itaya Asuquo said the Bakassi situation is a reflection of the fraud in the country, saying the issue poses great danger and threat to the unity of the nation.

In his own comments, Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon Larry Odey argued that if the president believes in the unity of the country and in its corporate existence, he should take immediate steps to restore the heritage of the Bakassi people to them.

“It is wrong to make them travellers and strangers in their homeland. Bakassi is being sacrificed on the altar of ego,” he said, promising that “the Cross River State House of Assembly and Cross River State indigenes will not stop talking, shouting and walking the streets to place on records their disapproval on the Bakassi matter until their yearnings are answered.”

Meanwhile, indications emerged yesterday that Nigeria might call for a review of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, ruling.

The deadline for Nigeria to appeal the ruling expires on October 9, 2012, which is Tuesday next week.

Crossriverwatch gathered that following mounting pressure from within and outside the country, President Goodluck Jonathan had decided to appeal the ruling, which he had earlier described as closed.

As a prelude to taking steps to review the ruling, President Jonathan is said to have summoned top government officials to what a source described as ‘a crucial meeting’ today to discuss the best way of going about it.

The source, who did not want to be named because he had not been authorised to speak on the matter, said the meeting, which would be presided over by President Jonathan, would review the new information said to have been put at the disposal of the government after the ICJ judgment.

The meeting, it was learnt, would also consider a crack legal team to handle the appeal for Nigeria following the criticism that has attended the team that represented the country during the 2002 hearing.

Among those said to have been invited to the emergency meeting are; the Senate President, David Mark, House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke, Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke and Chairmen of the National Assembly Committees on Special Duties, Judiciary and Foreign Affairs.

Others are the Director General of the National Boundary Commission, Chairman of Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission and all members of the National Assembly from Cross River State.

It was also gathered that the Presidency had mandated the Senate and House of Representatives leadership to invite relevant committees of the National Assembly to the meeting, which is slated for 9pm today.

Last week, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution mandating the President to appeal against the ICJ ruling ceding Bakassi to Cameroun because of the new facts that had emerged over the matter.

The motion that gave rise to the resolution was sponsored by Senator Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi Central, who argued that it would be wrong for Nigeria not to appeal the judgment, as there was still a window of opportunity for Nigeria to do so before October 9.

The resolution reads in part, “The Senate accordingly urges the Federal Government to invoke Article 61 of the ICJ status to appeal the said judgment in the interest of Nigerians in the affected areas, including Bakassi.”

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