by crossriverwatch admin
The Bakassi Citizens’ Advocacy Group a collection of citizens organizations committed to the pursuit of the rights and entitlements of the owners of Bakassi Peninsula and the other Nigerians resident there, are shocked to observe the way and manner the Government of Nigeria has decided to conduct its foreign policy with complete insensitivity at a time when its citizens are deeply pained by the purported ceding of Bakassi; and in the face of some of the worst forms of humiliation and degradation suffered at the hands of the gendarmes.
It further notes that while the Attorney General conveniently vacated the directives of Mr. President to seek a review of the ICJ judgment, it is difficult to understand the attitude of the Ministry of Foreign affairs.
Its lackadaisical engagement at a time when it was most needed leaves a lot to be desired. By deciding to keep an unacceptable distance, the Ministry was implicated in the events that led to the dubious aborting of the decision of the National Assembly on the review of the ICJ judgment.
Sadly, both legal and diplomatic supports have been given to the Cameroons on a platter of gold as a reward for their continued mistreatment of the people of Bakassi Peninsula as though they are slaves or stateless persons with no nationality.
Our Group is now strongly inclined to believe that Mr. President did not want a review. His recent decision to whole heartedly welcome President Biya’s message of appreciation for his decision not to seek review demonstrates this.
Is the visit and its thank you message from the Cameroon President a prize for the lives of Nigerians lost to Gendarmes over the last 40 years? Is it a prize for the ancestral land of the Efik people dashed to another country? Is it the prize the people deserve for complying with the ICJ judgment and hoping that those who over time have taken decisions over their heads in Lagos and Abuja, and continue to do take, will find ways to redeem and ameliorate their pains?
As we speak, in October 2012 alone, 320 outboard engines owned by fishing families have been seized or stolen by gendarmes.
Who will tell the stories of these affected Nigerians, who will hold their briefs and who will protect their tomorrow? How will Mr Biya’s thank you message solve these problems and why did we open our door to it? Would President Biya have done the same if Nigeria was in their shoes?
As Nigeria’s foreign policy and the need to protect the rights of citizens as required by the 1999 constitution take a back stage under President Jonathan’s watch, the people cry out in agony but with little hope. But hope will come as we trust that the National Assembly will follow on the statements made by the Senate President in faraway Canada on the need to address the identity and minority rights of the people of Bakassi Peninsula.
Bakassi is an international fishing settlement and not even the government of Nigeria or Cameroon can decide its future. It belongs primarily to the Efik Kingdom and will remain so for ever and ever.
For the avoidance of doubt, the message from President Biya was meant to further commit the government of Nigeria. Such perfidy will only serve to expose the failure of our foreign policy and the inability of government to uphold the interest of the Nigerian state as well as protect the welfare of its citizens.
For the government of Nigeria, Bakassi is now in Cameroon. So what further commitments do they need to make on a land that is no longer theirs?
The owners of Bakassi insist that they do not accept imposition of another nationality upon them but will now seek self-determination.
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