Posted by By Austin Ogwuda on
THE Federal Government does not intend to sacrifice the interest of Nigerians living in the disputed Bakassi Peninsula, although it is currently engaged in "quiet diplomacy" with the Camerounian Government with a view to resolving the lingering matter peacefully.
ASABA — THE Federal Government does not intend to sacrifice the interest of Nigerians living in the disputed Bakassi Peninsula, although it is currently engaged in "quiet diplomacy" with the Camerounian Government with a view to resolving the lingering matter peacefully.
Presidential envoy on Conflict Resolution, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue told reporters in Asaba shortly after being conferred with a chieftaincy title by the Asagba of Asaba, Obi Chike Edozien that the quiet diplomacy was to avoid war between the two countries.
"I have been advising Mr. President on conflicts in the whole of Africa including what we have in Bakassi. My first trip outside Nigeria in November 1999 was to Cameroun on Bakassi issue. We (Federal Government) have been doing, at the presidential level, quiet diplomacy by the President to ensure that there is no explosion between Nigerian and Cameroon. We are neighbours, more than that, we are brothers and sisters," he said, adding "the quarrel was really created by the Germans and the British who drew a line somewhere on the map in 1913, so we see it in the context of an African affair that should be settled quietly and in the interest of both countries.
"Nigeria has many people in Cameroun and Camerounians are many here (Nigeria) so our prayer is that peace will continue to reign more and more until we get settlement that secures the interest of Nigerians in Bakassi and also satisfy the Camerounians in whatever they want in that region (Bakassi).
"But certainly, it is important that Nigerians who live there are protected and that their interests are not sacrificed. We don’t think that will happen that is why there is quiet diplomacy going on at the presidential level now", he further stated.
On the debt relief granted Nigeria, Ambassador Uwechue said, "to start with, we are all very happy that a big chunk of the debt Nigeria is supposed to owe has been cancelled.
"We hope that all of it will be cancelled very soon so that we can then have the money for proper developmental projects not just paying debts that were incurred very long ago in very dubious circumstance."
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