Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Goodbye Bakassi

Nigeria hands over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsular to Cameroun tomorrow. Click here to read Jonathan Power's view and comparison with ongoing events in Georgia. Many thanks Dade for the link.

Also see here, Andrew Walker's moving piece on the plight of those evicted and the reality of New Bakassi.


Air beneath my feet 12:43 pm  

I would have said, oh, what a big loss! But that would have been very false reasoning although a very plausible one.

I think this is only the begining and borders will never be static, and frontiers will forver be redrawn until man attains a general collapse on the day of reckoning.

I think this should be known as the age constant transformation

Nkem 1:34 pm  

If you're wondering why Nigeria has been so willing to give up Bakassi, I'll tell you. Spoke to a British military lawyer a few weeks ago - he was involved in the case. Basically, Nigeria loses Bakassi (the land), but gets to keep much of the oil-rich offshore areas. Simple really.

MsMak,  3:10 pm  

@ Nkem:

Thank you for that piece of information, cause i have wondered to no end.

But a problem still exists in a system that allows one man (who thinks he is a god) to arbitrarily make decisions without consulting relevant authorities or parties.

The residents of the land in question had no say. We hear now the military had no say. Did the NBA have a say? And it did not pass before the National Assembly, which it should have by law.

As usual, we have done what we do best. Siddon look, wait till the 11th hour to cry crocodile, and then in the face of inevitability, leave it to God and hope for the best.

anengiyefa,  6:08 pm  

@ nkem, I find it hard to believe that ownership of the land can possibly be separated from ownership of the continental shelf, or the adjoining territorial waters. Obviously this lawyer told you this story in order to avoid telling you the truth.

anonymaus,  2:30 pm  

This Bakassi episode sets an alarming precedent.

Little over 300 years ago, the peoples of Nigeria (with the notable exception of the Bini - good on them) were willfully indulging in selling one another off as slaves for whatever they could get, and were oblivious to the fate of the sold parties, To no appreciable benefit.

Here we are in 2008, the government of Nigeria has sought fit to relieve itself of its duty to care and protect it's citizens, all for what? The price of billions of barrels of oil. It seems nothing has been learned in the 300 years that have passed.

This also provides a lesson to those "die-hard" Nigerians. If the government of "Nigeria", believes it can make a quick buck by forsaking you and your land to foreigners, it will have no hesitation in doing so. Is the government not being unpatriotic towards it's "citizens"?

Other countries have gone to war to defend the rights of their citizens, eg the Falkands war between Argentina and Great Britain, even before oil had been discovered there, Britain did not hesitate to defend the lives of a few thousand citizens on the other side of the world. This is not to say that Nigeria should have plunged head long into armed conflict like Georgia (Cameroun is backed by France, Nigeria has no backers, so tussling with Cameroun is not a prospect), but they could have left the question unresolved until a more satisfactory solution could be arrived at.

I'll give you an example, China and Japan were not prepared to cede one inch of land, and they were prepared to fight it out over some a portion of the East China Sea over oil and gas deposits. This issue is still unresolved, yet the two countries can "co-operate" and trade with one another.

This begs the question why is Nigeria so cheap? Why do they care so little for their people?

I think this is truly a sad day for Nigerians everywhere and particularly for the "government". "Nil point pour Nigeria". They have sold out the people of Bakassi.

anonymaus,  3:48 pm  

Sorry, (the link from my previous post, didn't fit into the screen) I'll provide the link again

join all this up (it's in three parts) and paste it into your search engine and you will see the article I'm referring to.



Sandrine 4:48 pm  

Hi Jeremy,

When I read the article in BBC News, I was thinking about the people who were born and live there. What will happen to them? I can not imagine being born somewhere and suddenly it's not your country anymore. I imagine that not everyone is able to relocate.That seems so awful.
Take care.


Anengiyefa 11:27 am  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anengiyefa 12:30 pm  

@anonymaus, as I understand it, the ceding of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroun was as a result of a ruling by the International Court of Justice and under inernational law, Nigeria did not have much of a choice, without being in breach of the court's ruling.

In contrast to the situation in the Falklands, Cameroun did not forcibly seize Bakassi. Rather, the Camerounians deftly took the case to court and won. Let us swallow our pride.

And trust me, the Camerounians did not pursue this matter so ardently simply to gain a strip of farmland and lots of fish. The oil rich surrounding area featured highly in their considerations.

11:27 AM

anonymaus,  2:37 pm  

Anengiyefa, thank you for your opinion on this matter, it is appreciated.

Why does Nigeria have no choice? Why can they not leave it "unresolved", like China and Japan 's differences over the East China Sea? (See my earlier post for the link). The two countries trade with one another, hell Japan even have a team competing in the olympics in Beijing!

Look at Ethiopia and Eritrea, they are many times smaller (in terms of numbers and size of the economy), but yet they have not moved on the region around Badme. So why did Nigeria crumble to the pressure of Cameroun? Has Nigeria already descended to the status of a mickey mouse state, where smaller countries can slap them around like an unfortunate misbehaved school boy?

The ICJ is not regarded by many (Sudan has put one finger up to them, the US doesn't recognise it), yet Nigeria unwisely allowed these people jurisdiction over
Nigerian land and people!

It was a big blunder by Gowon to go signing away portions of Nigeria, according to this post:

Let us hope that the future leaders of that country NEVER repeat such a blunder again. It's an actual violation of the constitution. One wonders if the leaders should be schooled in the significance of the constitution.

The example of the Falklands was to show that the government is supposed to go out of its way to protect the welfare of it's citizens (or subjects in the case of Great Britain). Which in the case of Nigeria, didn't happen. Forget the aspect of losing face, the more fundamental question is the defense of your land and it's people. The land is now under the jurisdiction of Cameroun, so the folly is now complete.

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