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Federal Govt hastily complied with the judgment —Gani Fawehinmi, SAN

Posted by DAYO BENSON, Deputy Editor & WAHAB ABDULLAH on 2006/08/19 | Views: 488 |

Federal Govt hastily complied with the judgment —Gani Fawehinmi, SAN

IT was an International Court of Justice, ICJ, judgment and Nigeria is a member of the International Court of Justice, but I disagree with the Federal Government for implementing the International Court of Justice judgment.

IT was an International Court of Justice, ICJ, judgment and Nigeria is a member of the International Court of Justice, but I disagree with the Federal Government for implementing the International Court of Justice judgment.

The judgment is an opinion to the Security Council. The Federal Government was too hasty in accepting it without putting pressure on the Security Council.

There are many countries of the world like the U.S., Britain, China, etc, that had refused in the past to comply with the International Court of Justice judgment. The National Assembly should have had an input because it is crucial. It should have been consulted. The issue could have been there for years.

Obasanjo’s action was unstatesmanlike. We should have pursued it through the United Nations. We disappointed our people in Bakassi.

It is calamitous, illegal and immoral, says Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN

THE problem is that we are not operating within the purview of the constitution. There is something we call municipal laws which govern the country and international laws, which the country subscribed to.

Both laws are applied for the purpose of sanitizing the country. Neither of them (laws) is applied in the antagonization of the other. In any country like Nigeria, the starting point is the constitution.

In other words, if you look at the constitution, you ask yourself, how many local governments are stipulated in the constitution. Your answer will provide that Bakassi is one of the local governments listed in the constitution. This council also form part of the state called Cross Rivers State.

There are processes of amending the constitution. If Bakassi is ceded out, what happened to its name in the constitution, its revenue, etc. Hence, no international law or judgment can force us to cede any part of Nigeria without conforming with our constitution.

It is calamitous and immoral that the Federal Government ceded or donated Bakassi to Cameroun, without strictly complying with our constitution. There are processes to be completed before anything is done.

Despite the judgment of the International Court of Justice at the Hague, our constitution provisions have to be complied with. For instance, the state of Alaska was purchased by the United States of America (US) from USSR. No judgment would make USA cede the state of Alaska. The government did not explore the laws. It should have asked for a plebiscite from the people to know their mind. To me, it is unconstitutional, illegal and immoral. It is Bakassi today, it may be Badagry, another border town tomorrow. It can never happen to donate your own people out to outsiders.

Nothing wrong with government actions— Justice Tajudeen Odunowo (rtd)

NIGERIA is a member of the United Nations. I don’t see what the National Assembly should do at this stage, even if the matter is referred to it.
To my mind, I don’t see anything wrong in what the government did, since Nigeria is a member of the UN.

Apart from handing over, I do not think they (government) can do otherwise. What the people of Bakassi can do is to relate to Nigeria and retain their local government and draw their revenue. As far as I am concerned, the judgment of the International Court of Justice in subsisting and Nigeria has to obey the judgment from a properly conducted proceedings.

Government obeyed ICJ judgment—Malam Yusuf Ali (SAN)

THE Federal Government is reacting to the judgment of the International Court of Justice. It (government) is doing this because the court said Bakassi is not part of Nigeria.

It is the judgment that forced the government to release Bakassi to Cameroun. We cannot behave like United States of America (USA) or like a gangster. Nigeria subscribed to the Convention of the United Nations. We have no choice than to obey the judgment of the ICJ. We must behave like a country that is law abiding.
The implication of this is that there is bilateral agreements which would be in force for both parties.

This would be in form of transition, where the people of Bakassi would be settled. Those who want to be in Nigeria would move here, while those who chose to be in Cameroun will remain there.

Ceding Bakassi without National Assembly approval is political harakiri— Mike Ozekhome

THE ceding of Bakassi to Cameroun without a prior enactment by the National Assembly is unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful and morally reprehensible. It is therefore null and void and of no effect whatsoever. Not only was the case poorly handled, the judgment itself was a bad one.

It did not take into account the right of the people to self determination under various international instruments such as the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights 1948 and the African Charter on Human Rights. Under these instruments, Bakassi people should have been allowed to choose where they want to belong.

The ugly scenario that has played out therefore is a situation where you have Nigerians herded into Cameroun like goats without their consent and against their free will. Nigeria’s constitution and laws abhor retrospectivity or retroactivity of legislation. Consequently, the National Assembly cannot retroactively validate the already concluded without formal legislation.

Under Section 3 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, there are 774 local government areas in Nigeria and Bakassi is one of them. To excise Bakassi is to alter the map of Nigeria without a constitutional amendment under Section 9 of the same constitution.

This amounts to constitutional harakiri. I hereby advise the National Assembly not to pass such law as I advise the people of Bakassi to declare their republic and seek United Nations legitimisation.

National Assembly ought to be consulted— Chief Chris Uche (SAN)

NIGERIA has no choice but to comply with the judgment delivered by the ICJ. This step is a way of respecting the rule of law and shows that we respect judgment of competent court. Also, by extension, this is respecting the United Nations, one subscribed to as a member. Because, doing something to the contrary would not be in our interest.

However, notwithstanding our diplomacy, the National Assembly ought to be taken into consideration before the Federal Government do the handing over. The government should cross its ‘T’s’ and dot its `I’s’

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