A Nigerian Senator, Rose Oko, has accused the Cameroonian government of refusing to keep to the terms of the GreenTree Agreement between both countries, with respect to the treatment of the Nigerian citizens living in the former Bakassi peninsula.
The lawmaker, representing Cross River North Senatorial District during plenary on Tuesday invoked Order 42 of the Senate Rules, to present before the Senate the plight of the Bakassi people.
Ms. Oko who made reference to an alleged harassment and killing of Nigerians said article 3(2) of the Greentree Agreement which is meant to protect Nigerians living in the peninsula from harassment, as well as forbid the Cameroonian government from levying indiscriminate taxes against them had been flouted.
PREMIUM TIMES recalls that in June 2006 in Greentree, Cameroon and Nigeria signed an agreement under the auspices the United Nations setting out the specific procedures and time frame for the implementation of the 2002 ruling of the International Court of Justice granting ownership of the mineral rich Bakassi Peninsula from Nigeria to Cameroon.
The senator said, “The terms of the Greentree agreement are not being complied with by the Cameroonian government.”
She requested that the Senate permit her to table a motion on the matter on a later date.
The Senate, chaired by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, granted the request.
There have been reported cases of harassment and killing of Nigerians in the peninsula by the Cameroonian Gendarmes.
Ninety-seven Nigerians were said to have been killed recently by the gendarmes because of a dispute over N100,000 boat levy. The House of Representatives had on June 13vowed to investigate the matter.
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, however, said that there was no evidence of such killings.
Nigerians who left the former Bakassi peninsula because of unfavourable conditions there are said to be currently scattered around the coastal communities of Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Ondo states.
The Paramount Ruler of Bakassi Local Government Area, Cross River, Etim Edet, who spoke last week with PREMIUM TIMES on the travails of his people, said that they have been abandoned by the Nigerian government.
Mr. Edet said that they have discovered an island called Dayspring which he said was suitable for his people to resettle there, but that the Nigerian government was foot-dragging.
“We are a forgotten people,” he said.
“Nigeria isn’t protecting her citizens. This thing cannot happen to American citizens…. I consider it a national scandal.”