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Paramount Ruler of Bakassi tells FG, international community to answer the unanswered Bakassi questions

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Bakassi PHOTO: David Hecht/IRIN

Paramount Ruler of Bakassi has called on the international community and the Federal Government to provide an answer to the many unanswered questions of Bakassi since losing the territory to Cameroon at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2002.

The Chairman, Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council and Paramount Ruler of Bakassi Local Government Area, His Royal Majesty Etiyin Etim Okon Edet in a statement yesterday and made available to the media said, “several years after the ICJ judgement, Bakassi indigenes and Cross River State have continued to deal with the pains of losing the oil-rich peninsula to Cameroon”.

He stated that “from issues of disenfranchisement during elections to the state losing its status as an oil-producing state, plunging it into further financial problems, more losses are still being counted. Many persons displaced living in IDP camps and others (and) several pleas from several quarters on the Federal Government and the international community seems to be falling on deaf ears”.

He then asked; “will the Bajassi question ever be answered? Will the people ever find peace in proper relocation and resettlement by relevant authorities? These are among the myriad of questions still begging for answers” and the Federal government and the international community should address them.

The Guardian observed that even with the pull out of the Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) from the creeks in 2018, nothing tangible to improve the lives of the Bakassi people has taken place to improve the area and its people. The BSF was in the forefront of the struggle for the liberation of Bakassi and implementation of the Green Tree Agreement

Recall that Nigeria lost Bakassi to Cameron at the ICJ 19 years ago and through the implementation of the 2006 Green Tree Agreement (GTA), Nigeria pulled out of Bakassi and the GTA which has come under serious criticisms had promised good and proper resettlement for the displaced people of Bakassi, empowerment.

There was a motion which was referred to two committees in the 5th senate of the National Assembly talking about the proper resettlement of the people of Bakassi and that included financial issues, border issues and others but it never saw the light of the day and the people of Bakassi are suffering.

The senate also talked about compensation in perpetuity to Cross River State and particularly the people of Bakassi because the Nigerian state gave up their land without a plebiscite, without them being consulted and through no fault of their own, their land was ceded.

A prominent lawyer in the state and counsel to the defunct BSF, Mr Ozinko Ozinko had at the time argued that “there are certain provisions in the GTA that have been seriously violated. That is article 6 and 8 of that agreement and government has done nothing about it…the GTA treaty is not a law in itself in Nigeria. By section 12 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, no international treaty or agreement can automatically become enforceable in Nigeria except only if that agreement has been ratified and passed into law by the National Assembly.

“Koffi Annan and the French government are not the court of law. As far as we are concern we are aware of the United Nation (UN) which is governed by the UN charter and there are various laws at the international level, I have turned everything upside down I have never seen a particular body that sits down and make an agreement and it becomes heavier than the judge. That judgement was obtained by fraud and the enforcement was fraudulent. It goes with fraudulent intent”.


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