November 1, 2012 by Simon Utebor
Member representing Calabar-Odukpani Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, says the demarcation of maritime boundary of Bakassi will not work.
Toyo stated this at an interraction on Bakassi organised by Project Nigeria and Citizens’ Advocacy Group in Lagos on Wednesday.
She asked the Nigeria Boundary Commission to respect the wishes of Bakassi people before embarking on the delineation of the Peninsula.
According to her, the Green Tree Agreement on the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon has not yet expired, stressing that the GTA remains valid till 2013.
Toyo said, “The Green Tree Agreement has not expired yet. It remains valid until next year. The agreement has been observed more in default.
“We need to reach out to our people and talk about resettlement. The land belongs to Efik people. Given the diversity and multi-ethnicity of the country, we need to address the issue well. As it is now, Bakassi has become desolate – abandoned place.”
Toyo said her people were disappointed in the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation for failing to seek review of the ruling of International Court of Justice.
The ICJ had in October 2002 ruled that the Peninsula be ceded to Cameroon.
She said the Bakassi people were also seeking compensation for their past suffering
Also, Senator Bassey Henshaw said Cameroon was violating the GTA with impunity, insisting that Bakassi people were being brutalised by Cameroonians.
He said, “The pictures are there for people to see the atrocities being perpetrated against Nigerians in the Peninsula by Cameroon. The conditions of Nigerians are bad.
“GTA provides for the protection of the rights of the people of Bakassi in compliance with international conventions on the fundamental rights of the people.”
He said many people were always talking about the resettlement of the people without anybody talking about their means of livelihood.
He added, “The plea of the people of Bakassi is simple: If it is oil that Cameroon is looking for, let the Federal Government give them the oil and leave the people in their ancestral land.”
Chairman of the occasion and Director-General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, urged the government to leverage on the International Parliamentary Union framework to discuss the Bakassi issue with Cameroon.
Akinterinwa, who exonerated government from blames, alleged that the colonial masters caused the problem in the Peninsula.
He said, “Let’s find a middle-way. Our own interest is that Bakassi people cannot be Camerounians because the people say they do not want to be Cameroonians.”
Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said the Bakassi problem was an issue for all Nigerians.
He advocated the convocation of a sovereign national conference to enable the various ethnic groups in the country to discuss their common patrimony.