by Isi Esene
The Nigerian Upper Legislative House is taking a different position on the ceding of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon, an agreement which was taken during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Bakassi was, until the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling, part of the Cross River State, South-south Nigeria.
Reports indicate the Senate intends to exploit the provision in the Nigerian Constitution which mandates the Federal Government to refer such agreements for legislative ratification before it is considered legal and binding on all parties.
The Senate spokesman, Eyinnaya Abaribe, disclosed that the upper legislative chamber is yet to receive any notice or communication from the attorney general of the federation (AGF), Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), as regards the Bakassi agreement.
Meanwhile, Adoke, who recently attended a meeting in Cameroon under the aegis of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission was quoted by the Cameroon Tribune saying he appreciates the commission as a conflict resolution mechanism.
He said, “It is in this connection that we should recommend the ingenuity and foresight of the founding fathers of the Mixed Commission… Indeed, when the history of inter-African peace and conflict resolution is written, (our) Commission will certainly find pride of place in the chronicle of the events of our great Continent.”
Adding to the mixed reaction coming from the Senate and the FG, several civil society groups have called for a review of the agreement taken on behalf of the Bakassi people.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) last week called “gross violations of the rights of the Bakassi people.”
It released a statement saying it is “aware that there are grounds upon which the Government of Nigeria may legitimately apply for a revision of the ICJ judgment.”
The Bakassi Peninsula was ceded to neighbouring Cameroon in 2002 in a landmark ruling of the ICJ.