The Bakassi Peninsula has been a source of decades-long disputes between Nigeria and Cameroun.
The UN Representative to the Cameroon–Nigeria Mixed Commission, Said Djinnit, has told residents of the Bakassi Peninsula to live in peace with one another, irrespective of the proposed boundary adjustment in the peninsula.
Mr. Djinnit made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Yaounde, Cameroun on Sunday during the 31st session of the commission.
“We believe that the border will divide the states but it should not divide the people. So, I am advising that they should live together in peace. They should remain united, in spite of the fact that the border will be demarcated. The UN is taking initiatives that will benefit the affected population on both sides of Nigeria and Cameroon.’’
Mr. Djinnit said that he had drawn the attention of the EU and other relevant authorities to the need to cooperate with the activities of the commission to achieve its desire.
According to him, the cartographic section of the UN in charge of producing maps that represent the land and maritime boundary between the two countries will organize a workshop for enlightenment on the issue.
“To ensure the sustainability of this demarcation agreement, we will also constitute an agreement drafting committee.’’
He said that the mixed commission had been able to develop an atmosphere of confidence between Cameroon and Nigeria.
The Bakassi Peninsula, including Lake Chad areas, has been a source of decades-long disputes between Nigeria and Cameroun.
On October 1, 2002, the International Court of Justice ceded the oil-rich peninsula to Cameroon in a landmark judgment that apparently left the residents, mostly Nigerians in a quandary. But the resource-rich maritime frontier between the two countries is yet to be demarcated.
Nigeria agreed to turn over the peninsula to Cameroon between July and September 2004 and had since handed over 32 villages to Cameroon. The villages stretch along the newly marked 1,700 km border from Lake Chad to the Gulf of Guinea.
However, the National Assembly insists that the handover is unconstitutional, demanding a referendum on the issue which informs the current Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission’s intervention.