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National Assembly won’t ratify ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon’

By Anietie Akpan, Calabar
24 September 2021   |   4:20 am
All hope of returning Bakassi Peninsula to Nigeria may not have been lost yet, as the National Assembly has hinted that it will withhold the ratification of its treaty.

All hope of returning Bakassi Peninsula to Nigeria may not have been lost yet, as the National Assembly has hinted that it will withhold the ratification of its treaty.

Chairman, Cross River State caucus of the National Assembly, Senator Gershom Bassey, who spoke with newsmen in Calabar, yesterday, said the Bakassi issue was not dead and forgotten.

Bassey, who represents Cross River South Senatorial District in the Senate, revealed that the National Assembly had not ratified the treaty and that the lawmakers were reluctant to ratify the treaty.

“Bakassi is one of the seven councils that make up Cross River South Senatorial District and so far as we have not ratified it, the matter is not closed. And so, I assure you that the matter is very much alive. Government is a continuum, so as long as it is open the issue can come up at any point,” he said.

On whether the current Senate will revive the issue, he said: “I think what the current Senate can do is to ensure that we don’t ratify the treaty and then it becomes an issue for the executive”.

Nigeria lost Bakassi to Cameroon at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2002 at The Hague and the Green Tree Agreement of 2006 finalised the hand over process with a window for an appeal, but Nigeria did not until the period elapsed.

However, Bassey assured the people of Bakassi and Nigeria that the matter was not yet over.

On the 2023 general elections and Nigerians’ apprehension that their votes do not count due to rigging, Bassey, who is being touted as a possible Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant, assured the electorate that their votes would count in 2023.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has initiated rules which actually includes electronic transmission of results. So, with or without the law, electronic transmission will be in the process, even though we are not sure of anything.

“I am convinced that the kind of election we had in 2007 will not be the type we will have in 2023, because there has been progress and as a result of that, we should encourage the electorate to vote massively because their votes have a 90 per cent chance of being counted.

“It may have been a 60 per cent chance, but we are moving closer to perfection, because ultimately, power belongs to the people and that is why the debate we had in the National Assembly on the electoral bill was important. Therefore, it is important that people trust and understand that they can exercise their franchise and vote, and that votes will count,” he stated.