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FG protests Cameroon’s harassment of Nigerians in Bakassi


Nigeria, on Thursday, protested the harassment of its citizens living in the Bakassi Peninsula by Cameroon.  The oil rich peninsula, formerly in the Nigerian territory, was ceded to the neighbouring Cameroon by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government in respect of a 2002 International Court of Justice’s verdict.

The Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), expressed the concern of the Federal Government at a meeting of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed-Commission in Abuja.

The meeting was attended by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ambassador Said Djinnit, and Cameroonian delegates led by the country’s Minister of Justice, Ahmadu Alli.  Adoke said that Nigeria had been greatly disturbed about cases of maltreatment of its citizens in the Bakassi Peninsula.

The minister said, “The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is concerned about reported cases of maltreatment of its citizens in the Bakassi Peninsula.

 “As I reiterated on that occasion (at the 20th Meeting of the Follow-Up Committee) while Nigeria would continue to honour its international obligations, the government is concerned about this situation.

 “The effect of this allegations and the political pressure they engender cannot be overemphasized as they impact profoundly on the level of public confidence between the Government and its citizens.

“We therefore, call on the Cameroonian authorities in the spirit of Article 4 of the Green Tree Agreement, and other International Human Rights Instruments to which our two countries are signatories, to urgently investigate and take measures to address these concerns.”

According to the Punch, Adoke said that Nigeria was, however, comforted by the assurances given by Cameroon that the allegations would be investigated to assure the affected population of their safety.

The minister stated that Cameroun had also assured that means of livelihood of Nigerians would be protected.

Adoke also drew the attention of the UN to the issue of assistance to the people affected by ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Thursday began a process aimed at developing a new settlement for Nigerians displaced from Bakassi following the ceding of the peninsula to Cameroon.

Already, the government has set up a committee to work out the modalities for the new settlement.

The decision to create a new settlement for the displaced persons was taken at a meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The committee has the acting Governor of Cross River State, Effiok Cobham, as its chairman.

It has three months to submit its report to the Federal Government.

The panel was set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to look into the plight of the displaced persons.

Cobham told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that Sambo had directed the newly-formed committee to find solutions to the plight of the affected citizens.

He said, “The Vice-President has constituted a committee to look into the issues pertaining to the plight of the displaced persons and the issues are quite many.

“With me as the chairman and the membership stretches between the federal and state officials, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so that we can comprehensively look at the issues affecting the people of Bakassi and then submit a report to the Vice-President on or before the end of February 2013.

“For now, the Bakassi people, a large number of them are talking about a new settlement outside the camp for which they are presently settled.

“They want a location that will be opened to the sea since they are basically riverine people. So, that involves the development of an entirely new settlement.”

Senator Florence Ita-Giwa who also attended the meeting described the setting up of the committee by the Vice-President as a welcome development.

She expressed the hope that the step would restore the dignity of the people of Bakassi

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