Abuja – Nigeria’s Senate (upper house of parliament) on Thursday in Abuja rejected the handing over of the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula and other areas under Nigerian control to Cameroon, declaring the handover was unconstitutional.
Nigeria ceded the peninsula to Cameroon on August 14, 2006, in consonance with an October 10, 2002 judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague.
The ICJ based its ruling on a 1913 treaty between former colonial powers Britain and Germany. Cameroon filed its suit on in 1994.
To implement the court’s decision, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo signed the so-called Greentree Agreement with Cameroon’s President Paul Biya on June 12, 2006 in the United States.
Adopting a motion moved by Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and 21 other senators, the Senate said the transfer of Bakassi to Cameroon under the June 12, 2006 agreement without ratification by parliament was an illegality.
The Senate insisted that the parliamentary ratification was a constitutional requirement, and therefore urged President Umaru Yar’Adua to submit the agreement to parliament for scrutiny without further delay.
The Senate requested the government to stop any further transfer of any part of the peninsula, particularly Abana and Atabong communities, to Cameroon until the agreement was ratified by parliament.
It further urged government to, as a matter of urgency, provide for the immediate rehabilitation and resettlement of the people of the peninsula who had already been displaced from their homes.
‘The Senate sympathizes with the people of Bakassi and other parts of Nigeria for the hardship caused them by the unfortunate cession of their ancestral homes to Cameroon,’ it said.
– Agency Report