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Bakassi Indigenes Want Own Republic, Write UN

Posted by By Sunday Orisakwe on 2006/02/04 | Views: 406 |

Bakassi Indigenes Want Own Republic, Write UN


The issue of who controls the disputed oil-rich Bakassi Island, between Nigeria and Cameroon may have taken another turn as the over seven million people of Southern Cameroon into which Bakassi falls are asking for an Independent Republic of Ambazania from the United Nations.

The issue of who controls the disputed oil-rich Bakassi Island, between Nigeria and Cameroon may have taken another turn as the over seven million people of Southern Cameroon into which Bakassi falls are asking for an Independent Republic of Ambazania from the United Nations.

The demand is contained in a letter made available to The Guardian and copied to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Tony Blair of Britain, Jacques Chirac of France, Paul Biya of Cameroon and Secretary General of the United Nations. It was written by the chairman of Southern Cameroon Peoples Organisation (SCAPO), Dr. Kevin Ngwang Gumme titled "Comprehensive Road Map for the Settlement of the Bakassi Conflict."

Gumme said his people had followed very closely the various stages through which the United Nations had taken the negotiations between the two parties in order to obtain the implementation of the ICJ (International Court of Justice) ruling of October 2002.

"For some months now, there is doubt about the fact that there is a statement. The reasons for this statement are very clear to us. First of all, we would like to point out that the ICJ ruling of October 2002 has been interpreted too simplistically by both Nigerian and Cameroonian governments. The ruling however can be considered definitive in the sense that it proclaims that sovereignty over the Bakassi does not belong to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"However, in stating that the sovereignty over Bakassi Peninsula 'belongs to Cameroon', the ruling fails to state which 'Cameroon' it is referring to.This ambiguity lies at the core of the present statement which the commission has so far been facing."

The SCAPO chairman faulted the tabling of the Bakassi dispute at the ICJ by Cameroon, saying this had prompted them, the people of the former United Nations Trust Territory of Southern Cameron's under United Kingdom Administration to have a rethink of their being together with Cameroon.

"The tabling of the Bakassi dispute to the ICJ by Cameroon has given us the need to examine our long-held position that there was never an agreement entered into between Cameroon and Southern Cameroons to form a union in accordance with UN GA Resolution 1608 (VX) of April 1961. The failure was not due to any fault of the people of the Southern Cameroons. It was rather as a result of the mistaken view of the government of President Ahmadou Ahidjo that there was no need to have such an agreement," he argued.

"Consequently, in the absence of a legally binding agreement between these two former UN trust territories, it means that the Southern Cameroons is still under international law, a separate legal entity from Cameroon and, therefore, the legitimate interlocutor in the Bakassi dispute."

Gumne explained that there was a concealment of vital information from the International Court of Justice (on) the Anglo-French Boundary Declaration of 1919 by the Cameroon Government.

"A significant fact which must be underlined here is that throughout the period from July 1919 to October 1, 1961, the Southern Cameroons (Republic of Ambazania) had an internationally recognised border with French Cameroon as defined by the Anglo-French Boundary Declaration signed on 10th July 1919 by Mr. Henry Simon the French Secretary of State for colonies and Lord Milner, the British Colonial Secretary," he wrote.

"This was followed by an actual boundary treaty between British Cameroon and French Cameroon signed on January 9, 1931 by Sir Graeme Thomson, Governor of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria and Monsieur Marchand, Gouverneur, Commissar Cameroon. This treaty describes all the boundary pillars from Northern Cameroon to the last pillar No.138 from which the line runs 350o West of the true South to the Atlantic Ocean."

The SCAPO chairman explained further that the people of Southern Cameroon wanted to be independent and take their affairs in their own hands, describing the quest as the best way to ensure peace in Bakassi.

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