Set to review agreement
By Tordue Salem, Abuja
The House of Representatives Committee on Treaties and Protocols, has rejected the ceding of the Bakassi area of Cross State to Cameroon.
The Committee described the decision by United Nations Green Tree Agreement, as illegal and in breach of section 12 the 1999 Constitution.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties and Protocols, Hon. Nicholas Ossai(PDP-DELTA), said this in an exclusive mobile phone interview with Vanguard in Abuja yesterday.
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He said the House would step in and review the agreement which he stressed did not get the approval of the National Assembly.
section 12 of the 1999 Constitution. (1) states that “treaty between the Federation and any other country shall have the force of law except to the extent to which any such treaty has been enacted into law by the National Assembly”.
The Treaty ceding Bakassi to Cameroon, did not however meet that Constitutional requirement, when it was signed in 2006.
On 13th June 2006, President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Paul Biya of Cameroon, resolved the dispute in talks led by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York City to cede Bakassi to the Central African country.
Nigeria, finally let go the territory in 2008, under President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua government, leading to marathon protests from Nigerians indigenous to the area. The protests against the decision, are yet to abate, 11 years after.
In reaction to the matter, the House Committee on Treaties, insists that Bakassi, remains Nigerian territory.
“What of the Green Tree Agreement? Why has it not come to us; so for us, the law does not affect Nigeria at all. It does not cover us. So the agreement Ceding Bakassi to Cameroon, is completely illegal”, Hon. Ossai declared.
Recall that the furore over Bakassi, preceded the country’s political independence from Britain in 1960.
The controversy over the territory resurfaced earlier in 2004, when the House, led by the then Speaker Aminu Bello Masari, kicked vehemently against pressure on Nigeria to give up the area.
The then Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Wunmi Bewaji(Lagos-AD), even threatened litigation against then then hush talks between Nigerian government and Cameroon.