Cameroon seeks peaceful solution to territorial dispute with Nigeria

Aug 05, 2002 02:00 AM

Cameroon said it wanted a peaceful solution to a territorial dispute with neighbouring Nigeria over the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula. "Cameroon is a peaceful country keen to maintain its internal and external security, its sovereignty and its territorial integrity, not by means of arms, but with strict regard to international law," Communications Minister Fame Ndongo said.
Ndongo was reacting to Nigerian reports in a local newspaper that both countries had amassed troops along their border and were allegedly preparing for war over the peninsula. In a bid to resolve the issue, Cameroon in 1994 asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague to rule on the sovereignty of Bakassi and help establish an international border between the two countries.
Since then, they have clashed periodically over Bakassi. Appealing to journalists to deal with the issue sensitively, Ndongo said: "The arguments (in The Hague) are completed and the court's verdict is awaited."

Recently, the Federal Government warned Cameroon and other neighbouring states not to dare the country's territorial integrity, over the Bakassi Peninsula dispute. The warning was part of the resolution reached in June at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Dr. Olu Agunloye Minister of State for Defence (Navy) told then that there had been some hostilities in the disputed area by Cameroonians but said the fact that Nigeria was a peaceful country did not presuppose it would not react in the event of a violation of the country's territorial integrity. He said Nigeria was ready to meet any situation that may arise from the dispute in the oil-rich peninsula.
According to Agunloye: "Nigeria will not tolerate any act that will put the lives of the persons on the land in jeopardy."

Recently the federal government has been planning to mobilise public support for an expected victory in the Bakassi dispute with Cameroon, which, since March 29, 1994, has been handledby the international court of justice at The Hague. The Federal government has, thus, directed the National Boundary Commission to make public all its maps, charts and other materials presented at The Hague to prove Nigeria's ownership of the Bakassi Peninsula.
Nigeria and Cameroon ended their presentation at The Hague in April. Judgement is expected in September. Cameroon is suspected to plating further hostilities to scuttle the prospects of peace in the peninsula, just in case the ICJ rules in favour of Nigeria.

Source: AllAfrica.com
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