BY Johnbosco Agbakwuru
CALABAR – Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, is to organise a stakeholders’ conference to discuss Bakassi, 10 years after International Court of Justice, ICJ, judgment, which ceded the oil-rich peninsula to Cameroon and its implication.
Director General of NIIA, Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, in a letter inviting stakeholders, particularly Cross River State Government and prominent sons of Bakassi, noted that 10 years after the judgment, there had been strong agitations among Nigerians, especially among the inhabitants of Bakassi.
The discussion, tagged 12th Brainstorming Session, with the theme Bakassi Peninsula: Ten years of ICJ Ruling and Prolegomena to Resultant Problems, is expected to examine issues and developments in the area and suggest the way forward.
The letter noted that there was a significant issue that was neglected by the ICJ, which was the right to self-determination for Bakassi inhabitants, a universal right that was enshrined in the United Nations, UN, Charter as well as in Charter of the African Union.
“The ruling has not only failed to solve the problem at hand, but has also created newer problems and grievances, including the rights of Bakassi people to their ancestral land. Some have argued that Nigeria should not have accepted the agreement because it adversely affects her political, economic and strategic interests in the region. It has also been pointed out that no nation of the world willingly cedes out its territory to another nation.
“Ten years after the ICJ ruling, agitations have remained strong among Nigerians and especially among the inhabitants of Bakassi, who are supported by their traditional rulers. They have been calling for the re-visitation of the issue. The people of Bakassi have written to the UN asking for a plebiscite in which they will exercise their right to self-determination.
“There have been reports of the formation of militant groups in the area that are ready to make up arms to achieve their aim of self-determination. In line with ICJ statutes, the Nigerian government has until October 10, 2012, to submit petitions to the ICJ seeking the reversal of the Green Tree Agreement,” it stated