BAKASSI lost, what is the way out?

Filed under: Global Issues,National Issues |

Ever since the clock ticked past the time for Nigeria to contest the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the Bakassi issue, lots of questions have been pouring in from all angles across the nation. Some of the members of the nine man committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan alleged that the committee never took a resolution, that if they had taken a resolution, they would have reported back to the President and he will report back to the National Assembly, considering the fact that the two chambers of the National Assembly had passed a motion asking the President to seek a review of the ruling.

The committee was established by Mr President with one mandate, to go and seek a review of the ICJ ruling. But what many do not understand was why that never happened.

Some members of the committee who were there as a representative of the National Assembly, said that they were bound by the resolution of the National Assembly, and that no member will take an opposing stand. They claimed that they were there in their capacity as members of the National Assembly, to protect the resolution of the National Assembly which is to review the ruling.

At a breakfast meeting conducted by the committee, former Attorney General of Cross-River State came up with fresh evidence which he presented to the committee, but was asked to go and get additional evidence to back up his claim. The National Assembly representatives claimed that the meeting was adjourn to a later date but unknowing to them, another meeting was held at their back by the Attorney General of the Federation.

Come to think of it, were the committee supposed to be the ones to determine whether or not the evidence  was enough? That should have been the job of the ICJ. Theirs is to rush to the ICJ even with the smallest fact that proves a difference.

Looking at the trajectory, sometime in the middle of September of this year, Mr President at the global stage, announced to the whole world that Nigeria will not seek a review of the ICJ ruling, which was a responds to the agitations at home. By the time he came back, the two chambers of the National Assembly has passed the resolution to review. Now, are we seeing a situation where both the President and the Attorney General has made up their mind on what to do and were just trying to play a script head or are we seeing an Attorney General who probably misadvise and misled the President?

The fresh evidence

The fresh fact is that Bakassi as well as Southern Cameroun has never been part of the French speaking part otherwise known as the Northern Cameroun. The Cameroun that was admitted into the United Nation on 30th September 1960 was the French speaking part of Cameroun. This means that Cameroun in the first place has no legal right to go to court whatsoever. They had no maritime boundary with Nigeria. It is only the Southern Cameroun that has maritime boundary with Nigeria. In 1961 they purportedly entered into an agreement with the Northern Cameroun in order to form one country, but that agreement was never registered in accordance with article 102 of the United Nations charter. Thus, making such agreement null and void.

Cameroun claimed that the agreement was registered, but there are proves that it wasn’t registered. This evidence was not known by Nigeria, including the International Court of Justice at the time of the judgement. What this mean is that, it would have been left for the ICJ to determine whether or not this fact is real. So why did Nigeria not go ahead to review the judgement you may ask.

What FG never considered

The agitation of returning to the International Court of Justice and saying an emphatic NO to her ruling was more of a political and diplomatic move than just a legal move. President Jonathan’s administration paid more attention to the legal move, lessly considered the political and diplomatic angle. Whether or not Gen. Yakubu Gowon or Olusegun Obasanjo made a mistake, when a new government comes and feels strongly about something and have the political will to correct it, they can correct it. In diplomacy, nations struggle for issues for centuries, and they don’t give up just because it is uncomfortable for the other nation. The tendency of our foreign policies being one of compliance and failure of putting her own national problem on the table while complying is dragging us backwards.

So the whole thing about going back to ICJ should have been more about exertion of pressure than it is about winning the case, it would have resulted in a whole lot of things that Nigeria stand nothing to lose other than ICJ saying we do not have an application.

What should be done now

In as much as the agilely opened window of reviewing the judgement has past, the Green Tree Agreement spelt out certain doe’s and don’t that Cameroun government is in violation of. Specifically the article 3 of that agreement, and we cannot throw it all away.
It is obvious that Cameroun have to work with Nigeria in dealing with the people of Bakassi. And since its embodied in the agreement that if there are violation of that agreement, such right could be revoked and i think, that in it self is another opportunity for Nigeria to open up the Bakassi question.

If you disagreement with my opinion, what do you think? Do you agree with the buy-back option available to Nigeria? Do you think Nigeria should go the illegal way by flexing her muscles like Israel and other country are doing? What do you think?