Loss Of Bakassi Is Shameful – Akin Oyebode

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by crossriverwatch admin

Professor Akin Oyebode speaking with Press after the event
Professor Akin Oyebode speaking with Press after the event

The loss of the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon by Nigeria has been described as a shameless capitulation to the dictates of imperialism and its conspiracy against the most populous black nation on earth.

Professor Akin Oyebode stated this in a lecture he delivered as a guest lecturer at the occasion of the 2nd Anniversary of the CrossRiverWatch entitled, “Bakassi: The Footprints of Democracy Without a Human Face, held at the Transcorp Hotel, Calabar, Wednesday.

A Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, University of Lagos, Professor Oyebode said that though the government officials argues that the International Court of Justice Judgment (ICJ) was accepted to project Nigeria as law abiding member of the global community and a “Big Brother” in Africa, many Nigerians are of the opinion that our political leaders only bowed to the whims and caprices of imperialism, lapses on the part of government officials and lack of tact in anticipating Cameroon moves.

He explained that the end result is that “Nigeria suffered a diminution of prestige and status for having its face rubbed in the mud by Cameroon, a situation worsened by the fact that heads did not roll after the case, a classic case of a successful operation resulting in the death of the baby and for which the surgeon would still be paid”!

The erudite International Law and Jurisprudence Professor explained that he and some other experts feel strongly against the injustice that was done against the people of Bakassi, and that the Bakassi debacle was a deleterious consequences of the Europeans encounter with the continent of Africa in the 19th century, which laid the obnoxious foundation of the Berlin perfidy of 1884-5 resulting in 105 boundaries in Africa and the end produce of the Europeans wrangling and subterfuge without any regards to the people is the tragedy of Bakassi Peninsula.

Prof. Oyebode reasoned that the mindless bifurcation homogenous culture areas has kept tormenting the continent in spite of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) 1964 Cairo meeting which stressed the inviolability of colonial inherited boundaries, and that it was a clear indictment of the African leaders as one would have expected African leaders to hold themselves and their countries bound by the inviolability provision.

He disclosed that the relationship between Nigeria and Cameroon, right from the colonial to post colonial era has been that of cat and dog, made worst by the 1961 United Nations Plebiscite which divided the old Trust Territory part of Cameroon between Nigeria and Cameroon, the Maroua Declaration of 1971,among others as Cameroon laid claim to Bakassi, employment of harassment and intimidations of Bakassi people and killing of Nigerian soldiers in1981 and the eventual change of tactic by Cameroon by resorting to ICJ in April 1994, after it became clear to her that Nigeria was not going to surrender the territory.

“Although Nigeria and Cameroon had subscribed to the 1964 OAU Heads of State declaration regarding the sanctity and inviolability of the colonial boundaries in Africa, it is important to observe that Cameroon gendarmes had continued to encroach on the peninsula in a bid to collect taxes from the Nigerian residents therein and exert authority in the area to the chagrin of Nigeria, a situation which ultimately led to a skirmish with the Nigerian Army in May 1981 leading to some casualties on the Nigerian side”.

The International Law Professor said that what was more galling to many observers is that Nigeria did not declined continued participation in the case after its challenge of the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter was over ruled Nigeria never challenge the nationality of the president of the court, but the then President, Chief Obasanjo accepted President Jacque Chirac of France invitation to meet with President Biya while Obasanjo hurriedly signed the Green Tree Agreement in 2006, an agreement which is yet to be domesticated by the National Assembly of Nigeria to date, yet the Bakassi people had been relocated to an inclement area called new Bakassi, thereby worsening their situation.

The 2nd Anniversary of CrossRiverWatch lecture witnessed a large turnout of the people of the state who came in from all parts of the state to be part of the historic event.

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