By Our Correspondent
Contrary to expectations that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will seek a review of the judgement of the International Court of Justice, ICJ which ceded the oil rich Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon, the President yesterday in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, promised that Nigeria will faithfully abide by the decision of the UN backed court in the Hague.
President Buhari said his administration would ensure the faithful implementation of the Green Tree Agreement, which drew the terms for the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon.
The President gave the assurances at an interactive session with Nigerians living in Cameroon during his two-day working visit to the country.
A statement by Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesperson, said. “Since Nigeria allowed the case to go to court (ICJ), and we lost, we have to abide by it,” the President said in response to a question from a Nigerian on the issue.
Nigeria had on October 9, 2012, finally conceded the disputed Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon in line with the judgment of the International Court of Justice awarding the area to the Central African country.
But even that did not put paid to speculations that Nigeria might seek a review of the ruling.
The governor of the state also recently told a delegation of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees who paid him a courtesy visit in his office that the Bakassi matter was an unsettled business.
While responding to remarks by the head of the delegation, Governor Ayade said: “We have a moral and emotional burden to express some concerns, fears, agony and pains we have encountered in the course of our struggle as a small nation state within the nation state of Nigeria. The people of Bakassi and the people of Cross River state are indeed pained and hurt by the way and manner that a part of us has been ceded out.
“Rightly put in the way and manner you (Angele Dikongue) earlier put it, we have reduced our people, the people of Bakassi to be near stateless people, a people whose heritage, a people whose lifestyle, a people whose original means of living has been completely taken, a people whose fundamental human rights have been trampled upon, a people who were never consulted either by referendum or plebiscite to ask where they choose to belong, a people whose faith was decided in the high tables of cities where they know not, whose course the world has altered, their spirit and soul cries.
“There is no amount of peanuts, no amount of food, no amount of shelter that you provide that will reverse the hurt. The right thing is to allow a man the fundamental right to choose whom he intends to associate with, where he belongs and how he chooses to live.
“If it were another part of the country that suffered the same fate, the country will go to war.
“The United Nations must hear it loud and clear that it is an unsettled issue as there is no amount of dollars that can settle this and at the fullness of time, when the state is through with her economic challenges, they (Bakassi) will be back on the table, they will be back before the UN to ask for a plebiscite, they will be back before the UN to ask for what is fair and right; that the people of Bakassi have a right to choose where they want to live.”
Under the Jonathan government, appeals to seek a review of the ruling were futile because the then Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, the federal government had come to the conclusion that “an application for a review is virtually bound to fail” and that “a failed application will be diplomatically damaging to Nigeria.
“Government has therefore decided that it will not be in the national interest to apply for revision of the 2002 ICJ Judgment in respect of the Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria.”
President Buhari’s comment has now dampened expectations by some Nigerians that subsequent Nigerian administrations might again try to wrestle the oil-rich peninsula from Cameroon.
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