Continues from yesterday
The British Conspiracy: In a meeting of the Cameroons under United National Trusteeship on what action they were to take after the plebiscite, the result of which was reported in the minutes as follows ……. in the Northern Cameroons there was a 3 to 2 majority in favour of joining Nigeria; only in one plebiscite (Chamba) was there a majority in favour of the Cameroon Republic. In the Southern Cameroon there was a 7 to 3 majority in favour joining the Cameroon Republic (later information showed that in seven plebiscite districts out of the 26 the majority favoured Nigeria). There was some discussion of the possibility of frontier adjustment between Nigeria and the Cameroon Republic in respect of areas which voted contrary to the overall majority on either part of the Territory but it was agreed that any such idea was most unlikely to be favourably viewed by the United Nationals unless asked for by both Nigeria and the republic. For our part we should treat each area as one whole. In any case, it would be impossible for Her Majesty’s government to suggest anything like partition at Nigeria’s expense. A meeting was held in the Colonial Office on February 16, 1961
Source: Southern Cameroun Gazette, published by Authority Beua, March 18, 1961, Vol 7. No 14
A LOT of Bakassi people are comfortable where they are, since we re-settled them we have not heard of somebody who was molested or harassed by the occupants. Before we came here, Senator Ita Giwa made us to sign an agreement to accept the new location which was in the three wards mentioned by the President.
We did not voluntarily sign it but she told us that it would be a good place for us. She was the number one signature. I was the number three signature and we were about 60 leaders that signed that agreement to come to the new location after that we had signed another agreement with the landlords of the place which was an MoU which was signed by about six persons including herself the paramount rule and some of us with the landlords on how to share political offices in the new location that was the agreement.
So at 2006, the government agreed to take the first step as the chairman and the host community will take the state House of Assembly. And that is how the first chairman of the Bakassi emerged as Hon. Saviour in the new location and a House of Assembly member from the host community also emerged.
Giving away part of the agreement
All these problems started recently when we now have to give away our own part of the agreement to the host community to host the chairman of the local government before they now started agitation that they don’t want the place again and as a matter of fact, the new place they are even talking about at Dayspring, is still an uninhabited part of the present local government. If the host community should be ambiguous to give you a place, remember, they are also fishermen so we don’t want any problem where we have settled with the host community. What they are trying to do in the area is to cause bad blood with us and the leadership of Bakassi recently, because political grievances has caused that position.
The PDP caucus in Cross River State suspended the caucus of the local government which happened to be ours that was about four months ago before these agitations. So you can see that these agitations are based on the fact that there are political grievances. And of cause you have seen the movement by the Bakasi people showing voters card, so you see it has to do with politics.
Ethnic cleansing is taking place in Bakassi
But here we are talking about a territory where people have been left behind, people are even dying daily, some are recorded and some not recorded. As we speak, there is a situation in Abana where the Cameroonians are killing people and for the past two weeks that has been the situation of things in that particular area. In Abana we don’t have any burial ground but now they are forcing the people that they should be buried in Abana because, they don’t want them to bring them to this side and we know that the information will not come out, but this is the situation a native of Bakassi is facing now.
That is the situation that should be arrested now not people that want political offices and if it is even a matter of politics, the people that elected you if you did not perform to their expectation, they still have the right to elect another person. Today, it is unfortunate that the present chairman of Bakassi is not here, I want to show you the picture of how the single senator lifted his hand as the chairman. She contested the election, she supported election in the three wards of this area, so you will agree with me that in the past four years she has been comfortable in the present location so what is this grievance that has brought us to a situation of looking for a new location when we have already settled politically.
What is the social and economic situation in Bakassi today?
Senator Henshaw: Because of delay in the judicial process, when the palace of the Obong of Calabar through the distinguished Senator Bassey we know that we have to go into the peninsula, we have interacted with the people, we were the ones that brought out all the evidences of the violation of the GTA and the atrocities being perpetrated against the people of Bakasi if you go to the peninsula, and you see first-hand, we went there silently and if we have suffered the misfortune of being caught, we would have been treated like spies by the Cameroonian government.
But in order to take the position of the present evidence in the court, we have this that we tag “the Bakassi story” this paper give a sequence report of all that is happening now in the place. So from the legal point of view, we believe there is a very strong case. Beside and beyond the other issues a part of the fresh is the violation of the plaintiff agreement by the Cameroonians and we have talked to the people living in the peninsula. We know that this joining together will go further to give Nigerians going back to the International Court of Justice a strong basis for this judgment to be positively revisited in favour of Nigeria.
The reason why look at the Green Tree Agreement and its effect as a fresh fact is because it was expected that the Green Tree Agreement would yield a frame work and form a basis of relationship that Cameroon would take over that area, and since they have violated it which we have documented it, attempts to change the people and their culture, their languages, change the names of the tribes, the local communities within that area. So, they are there in the ‘Bakassi Story’.
Hon. Maurice Ekong, Co-ordinator, Save Bakassi Group: What I want to say is a very big thank you to Vanguard. What you are doing is really heart worming. For the sake of the Save Bakassi Group, what Vanguard is doing even at this late hour gives us further confidence. When we started our campaign, the House of Representative took up. We are appealing to you not to let any stone unturned as you have started with this rigor, please continue. We read about a forth night ago, there was a powerful piece in your paper on the Bakassi issue. So all these documents that we are giving, we are thanking you in advance.
The players in this matter would be assured that if Vanguard in all earnest approach them, they would have more picture, more facts that will make it clearer why some of the hasty decisions were taken and at the end of the day, we are believing and trusting God that Vanguard’s name will be indelibly written in the annals of history, of how Nigeria reclaimed and got back Bakassi peninsula for the people.
The suffering that the people are going through today it is not just enough to talk about resettling them, these are people who have made up their minds that “This is our father land, we will die here, we will be buried and we will be resettled here.” If nothing is done, from the little that has been going on, the security clash down in the Bakassi peninsula is such that if you stop the work that you are doing, one month later, I dare say that more than half of the indigenes of Bakassi who are suspected to have been passing information to us will be extrajudicially executed.
So put that at the back of your mind and know that what you have started is something that must continue to free the people of Bakassi otherwise there will be continuous stories of extrajudicial execution by some Bakassians at home who decided to join with us to give us facts that have led the matter.
Senator Ewah Bassey Henshaw: We have just managed about four to six weeks ago to obtain a detailed result of the 1961 plebiscite. I found a document in England which was the minute of a meeting in the colonial office which said that there were 26 plebiscite districts that participated in plebiscite of 1961. Of these 26 districts, seven voted to join Nigeria. So I became curious and I started digging. This document was apparently in Cameroonian custody because here the people said the source was the Southern Cameroonian Gazette and they quoted that it was published by the authority in Buea, March 18, 1961. They were quite specific. Of course the Cameroonians hid this document from the international court. We have managed to see it from people of Southern Cameroonian origin who are themselves contesting the alliteration of Cameroon.
What does this tell us? The entire Kumba area, that is Kumba North West and Kumba South West are the areas that voted to remain in Nigeria, the seven districts. If you take a look at this map, the closest area to Bakassi is the Kumba area. On this map you will also see ‘N’ which stands for Nigeria, where you see ‘C’ it is for Cameroon. This establishes two things. First, that Bakassi did not participate in that 1961 plebiscite. The court said in its ruling that although there was a plebiscite in Southern Cameroon in 1961 and that although they did not find any contrite evidence to show that Bakassi participated, it is in the view of the court reasonable to believe that Bakassi actually participated and therefore voted to be with Cameroon.
There was no evidence before the court, they could not find anything because even in the UN I employed people to search the UN archives, nothing could be found. These results now clearly demonstrate that Bakassi did not participate because it is not one of the 26 plebiscite districts and beyond that, the closest territory, the two districts of Kumba North West and South West, they all voted to remain in Nigeria. Take a look at this map; this is Kumba South west, the next option is Nigeria, the second option is Cameroon and if you take a look at the figures, most of it actually voted to remain in Nigeria.
Entire district of Kumba
So in the entire Kumba South west six voting areas out of 10 voted to remain in Nigeria and the Isangale which is the closest to Bakassi is just right outside the present area called Bakassi voted 241 to two remain in Nigeria.
If you take a look at the voting statistic, which is now Kumba North West, every single one of them, all the voting areas voted to remain in Nigeria. The entire district of Kumba North West voted to remain in Nigeria. The question now arises. How could the ICJ have drawn a conclusion that it is reasonable to believe that Bakassi voted and voted to remain in Cameroon?
This shows clearly that Bakassi did not even participate and the areas closest to Bakassi, all the other districts are farther away than this. The two districts closest to Bakassi actually voted to remain in Nigeria. So when you take this evidence, the two foundations that form Cameroon claim and the court judgment have clearly been debunked, they don’t just exist.
What the court did was completely on false evidence.
In the event of the FG not showing interest to take up this matter, can an individual appear before the ICJ?
Senator Henshaw: Unfortunately not. I have documentations where some Efik sons wrote to the US, the statutes of the ICJ is that it allows only sovereign nations/entities who are signatories to that statute to appear before it. The governor has been quite willing to perform. I think that you need to consider perhaps the dilemma of creating the impression that we are fighting the federal government. I don’t think that we want that kind of image or relationship to develop between the governor of the state and the federal government. Governor Imoke has been reassuring at least to me all the times that I have met him, his willingness to help.
How come that the people of Akwa Ibom State are watching all these drama without a word from them, is it because of the 76 oil wells?
Comment: Jonathan did not cede Bakassi to Cameroon, Yar’ Adua did not; it was Obasanjo who wanted to please the international community. They had order from the Federal High Court to stop the process of ceding Bakassi until we are heard. We want to obey ICJ, we have no respect for our own judicial system. Is this not a product of colonial mentality?
On that point we agree. I have always taken a position in spite with the oil wells, that as far I’m concerned I have no issue with Akwa Ibom because all the pains, suffering inflicted to the people of Bakassi has been by the federal government. It does not matter to the Presidency.