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Barely two weeks to the scheduled hand-over of the Bakassi Peninsula to the Camerounian authorities, the Federal Government has been told to perish the idea.
Barely two weeks to the scheduled hand-over of the Bakassi Peninsula to the Camerounian authorities, the Federal Government has been told to perish the idea. Hon. Emmanuel Arigbe-Osula, a former member of the House of Representatives who gave the warning at the weekend said President Umaru Yar’Adua would be committing an impeachable offence if he goes ahead to handover the oil-rich region.
The former All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) governorship candidate in Edo State said before Bakassi or any other part of the country listed in the first schedule of the 1999 constitution can be excised, the constitution must first be tinkered with.
“Bakassi is a part of our constitution in first schedule and section 8 (4) and section 9 (3). The president will be breaching the constitution and committing impeachable offence if he supports this lawlessness of his predecessor, while irredeemably rubbishing his supposed commitment to the rule of law,” he noted.
Last week, Yar’Adua while receiving the new Camerounian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Salaheddine Abbas had said the deal between Nigeria and Cameroun over the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula was irrevocable and insisted that his administration will for no reason go back on the issue.
According to him, Nigeria was ready and fully committed to a successful handover of the disputed Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun on August 14, 2008, in accordance with the Green Tree Agreement signed between Nigeria and Cameroun.
“We must ensure that the August 14 handover goes ahead, in accordance with the Green Tree Agreement, and then we shall continue to work together to further strengthen our existing very cordial and brotherly relations,” Yar’Adua had said.
But a visibly concerned Arigbe-Osula told Daily Sun at the weekend that the treaty, which purportedly relocated Bakassi was not only a farce, but was against the spirit and letter of the constitution which Yar’Adua has sworn to defend and uphold.
“Treaties, even when in compliance with section 12 of the constitution cannot controvert the supremacy of our constitution nor circumvent it”, he reasoned.
He continued: “Treaty, no matter how good the intention, an international body, no matter how big, including the UN, cannot legislate for Nigeria, particularly if such legislation is inconsistent with the provision of our constitution.
The supremacy of our constitution cannot be undermined by anyone who has a serious and valid democratic credential and regard for the rule of law. Consequently, those members of the National Assembly who support the seccession of Bakassi without the amendment of the constitution in line with section 9 (3) are committing a sacrilege. The president will be breaching the constitution and committing impeachable offence if he supports this lawlessness of his predecessor, while irredeemably rubbishing his supposed commitment to the rule of law.
“The NASS, by itself, cannot amend the constitution nor make a law inconsistent with the constitution valid even if they passed it. Bakassi shall remain a part of Nigeria until all constitutional conditions are met before it can be ceded away. It is, therefore, still the responsibility of Nigeria to ensure their welfare and security.
We can do the right thing now or go the lawless part and plunge our country into an avoidable crisis.”
According to Arigbe-Osula, by backing down from handing over Bakassi, Yar’Adua will be remedying one of the most hideous crimes of Obasanjo’s administration against Nigerians who in a desperate bid to perpetuate himself in power ceded away part of the nation ostensibly to hoodwink other world leaders that he was peace-loving and the solution to the Africa insecurity.
“The international communities will respect us if we do the right thing,” he maintained.
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