Confab concerned over Nigeria, Cameroon border demarcation

Confab concerned over Nigeria, Cameroon border demarcation

Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:53 am


Nigeria ceded Bakassi to Cameroon following ICJ’s ruling in 2007, but some Nigerian villages remain unclaimed

Abuja- Delegates at Nigeria’s Confab have called on President Goodluck Jonathan to address growing concerns arising from border demarcation between Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon, following an exercise being carried out by Cameroonian officials and United Nations delegation.

Conference deputy chairman, Bolaji Akinyemi, made the call during plenary on Wednesday, following an alarm raised by Hon. Orok Otu Duke, a South-South Geo-Political Zone delegate, saying the Federal Government must take urgent steps to reclaim villages that were awarded to Cameroon by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“What we need to do is for the conference to express itself; to call on the Federal Government that two things have been brought to our attention.

“That some demarcation exercise is going on without the presence of Nigerian officials.

“That Nigeria has not taken any steps to claim those villages which the world court awarded to Nigeria from Cameroon,

“That the conference feels rather disturbed and is calling on the Federal Government to address those two issues,’’ Akinyemi said.

Earlier, Duke drew the attention of the conference to the ongoing demarcation at the border between Nigeria and Cameroon, where some villages in Nigeria had allegedly been wrongly demarcated.

“A team of people from Cameroon arrived with the United Nations and are presently demarcating the boundary between Nigeria and Cameroun.

“They are in a place specifically known as Danare in Boki and they are putting in place so many beacons that do not rhyme with what we consider as the boundary

“They tried it last month and they almost took Obudu Cattle Ranch; now, they have got to Boki.

“May God help us by the time they get to the southern part of the state, particularly the Bakassi area,’’ he said.

The delegate said that the senate leader representing the constituency, Sen. Ndoma Egba, had moved a motion on the issue in the senate before the recess.

He informed the senate that the mix commission arrived without representation from Nigeria.

He added that the Senate President, David Mark, thereafter granted a press interview where he said that no inch of Nigeria’s territory would be ceded to Cameroon.

“As I speak, the exercise is ongoing and we have lost 12 villages where they planted beacons as at yesterday.

“Sen. Egba opted for us to wait till when the senate reconvenes but the villagers have mobilised and have prevented them from continuing with the exercise.

“Meanwhile, we have sent representation to the Attorney General of the Federation that the Cameroun-Nigeria mixed Commission is supposed to have representatives from Nigeria,’’ he said.

Duke equally informed the conference that “another problem is that the Nigerian soldiers that arrived came and arrested the Nigerians and left the Cameroonians to continue with the demarcation’’.

A former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Jibril Aminu, in his reaction to the development called on the relevant agencies to attend to the issue.

“This is a touching issue. This is a country that is organised; we have a president and a foreign ministry.

“I don’t think Cameroon can just come here and begin planting beacons with none of these people knowing what is happening.

“I will recommend very strongly that while we sympathise with our brother, we refer this to the appropriate agencies,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Bayo Ojo, a former Attorney General of the Federation said it was a matter of national importance that should be addressed by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke.

Ojo, who is also a delegate to the conference, said when judgment of ICJ was given, a Mixed Commission comprising officials from Nigeria and Cameroon was set up.

The commission was to be headed by the Attorneys General of Cameroon and Nigeria.

He said that the essence was for the two countries to jointly carry out border exercises that concern both countries.

“The solution is for this to be taken up with the Nigerian Chairman of the Mixed Commission, who happens to be the Attorney General of the Federation.

“He will look into it and call Cameroon to order because this is a matter of urgent national importance,’’ he said.

Another delegate, Iliya Danga, representing Association of Retired Officers of Department State Service said there was need for the Federal Government to secure its border to protect Nigerians living there.

“I come from one of the border towns with Cameroon and I was a member of the working group of the mix commission of Cameroon, Nigeria.

“The Cameroonians made sure that they followed through and we handed over 33 villages in that area.

“Nigeria is at fault for not following through; we at the border are suffering because the gendarmes can strike at any time, deal with us and go scot free,’’ he said. (NAN)

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