BY MAYOWA SAMUEL
The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on International Boundary Dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon on Thursday said it might consider a fresh application to appeal the International Court of Justice judgment that ceded Bakassi to Cameroon.
The Ad hoc Committee was set up by the House to probe the case of encroachment into another Cross River State territory by Cameroon.
The Danare and Biajua communities and about 7,000–10,000 hectares of land in the Boki Area of Cross River State risk being lost to Cameroon according to a motion by lawmakers from the state last week.
The lawmakers, in the motion that was presented by Victor Abang, had said this was as a result of the non-location of pillar 113A by the technical committee of the Cameroon- Nigeria Mixed Commission.
The potential loss of this second Cross River State territory also has its basis in the same 2002 judgment that ceded Bakassi.
In a meeting with relevant stakeholders on the issue on Thursday, the Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Beni Lar, said they were concerned about the potential loss of a significant landmass and Nigerian citizens residing within it to Cameroon.
In attendance at the meeting was the Director General of the National Boundary Commission, Adamu Adaji; representatives of the affected Boki communities; as well as representatives of security agencies among others.
She, however, assured that the House would not let another Nigerian territory be lost to another country.
She said, “From the human rights angle let us know what can be done. It is very important. Everything is dynamic. You cannot have a law that wants to implement a 1912 treaty which is so old. Laws are reviewed from time to time. You cannot want to implement it in the same manner. It is just like when you talk about the issues in Nigeria about grazing routes. You cannot go back and get back the same grazing routes. There has to be a political solution. You give us the legal solution and then we politicians would come up with the political solution.
“There has to be a solution. There has to be a way to keep our Nigerian brothers and sisters in Nigeria. We have to find a way around it even if it means coming up with a fresh appeal to the ICJ using diplomatic channels. Whatever we need to do, we should do it for the sake of the nation and the sake of our brothers and sisters that live in Nigeria.
“I cannot imagine waking up one morning and being told I am not a Nigerian. So from that human right angle, there has to be a way. Yes, these technocrats are doing their job as technocrats. We do not dispute that, but there has to be a way where on compassionate grounds, human rights grounds. We have to find a way to solve this issue or resolve this issue.”
The Director General of the NBC, Adamu Adaji, had called for compliance with the provisions of the ICJ judgment.
Members of the Committee expressed anger that NBC did not seem to be interested in protecting the interest of the country.
A community leader from Boki, Cletus Obun, urged urgent intervention to avoid the loss of land and displacement of the people.