By Soni Daniel, Assist. Editor
ABUJA — As the deadline for the review of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, ruling on Bakassi closes in, the Federal Government appears to have come under intense pressure from groups and organisations to reconsider its earlier position not to appeal the verdict.
Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, had foreclosed any hope of reclaiming Bakassi, on the grounds that government was not ready to contest the ICJ verdict, which handed over the oil-rich peninsula to Cameroun in 2002.
However, Vanguard investigations reveal that Adoke has come under intense pressure from interested groups and individuals from Cross River State and other parts of Nigeria to reconsider the government’s stance on Bakassi.
The chief law officer of the federation was said to have been confronted with what a source described as ‘incontrovertible new information on Bakassi’ that has jolted the government.
The information, it was gathered, is causing unease within the government circles, putting Adoke on the spot to address the issue he had earlier dismissed as foreclosed.
According to the source, who is very familiar with the Bakassi issue, the people of Cross River State are optimistic that the new information would move the AGF into action before the deadline expires.
It was learnt that some top-ranking political and traditional rulers from the state, who were uncomfortable with Adoke’s declaration that the Bakassi matter had been closed, approached another influential minister close to President Goodluck Jonathan and furnished him with the new information on Bakassi.
Vanguard reliably gathered that after listening to the Cross River State delegation, the minister, called Adoke to take a second look at the government decision not to seek a review of the Bakassi ruling.
The source said: “Well, we do not know what will happen between now and October 10, but he (the Justice Minister) said that he was going to look into our case again and see if there was anything that could be done about it.
“The AGF wants to take a look at the 1913 Treaty, which the ICJ used in deciding the Bakassi case, which we have discovered to have been forged; it may surprise the world to discover that the so-called treaty was never signed by any of the parties, as claimed by Cameroun.
“While we are expectant that something can be done by the AGF and the Presidency to change the situation, we will not give up on Bakassi because we believe that despite the ICJ ruling ceding it to Cameroun, the issue has just begun. “Whether this government does something about it or not, our resolve to reclaim Bakassi remains as strong as it has been in the last 121 years”.
The AGF could not be reached on whether there could be a change of position by the Federal Government based on the ‘new evidence’.
Adoke was said to have travelled out of the country when Vanguard called his office.
But a few days ago, Information Minister, Labaran Maku castigated those calling for a review of the ICJ judgment, saying that the matter had been laid to rest.
Maku said: “It is surprising that this issue is coming up again; this case was in the International Court of Justice for long and after years of legal arguments by both Nigeria and Cameroon, a judgment was passed in favour of Cameroon. Nigeria, in respect to the ICJ judgment, came out and signed an agreement that it had honoured the judgment.
“Nigeria and Cameroon are neighbours and have a good standing relationship. The two countries have been living together and will continue to live together forever.
They have been peaceful with each other for long. It is not at this time that they should begin to have problem over issues that should have been amicably resolved. So, I think Nigeria’s position is still in conformity with the outcome of the International Court of Justice”.