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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Bakassi: Why Did You Do That Obasanjo?



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The condition of Bakassi Peninsula indigenes from Cross River State is sorrowful, pitiful, disgraceful and unbelievable because of the injury cruelly inflicted on them by the Mafia Judgement of the International Court of Justice and carelessly sealed by the arbitrarily use of power of the then Nigerian government. It is really pathetic and tragic to know that perhaps they have been awfully without any iota of feelings and considerations condemned irredeemably into the hands of the wicked Cameroonian army through this international known political kangaroo judgement aided by the former president of Nigeria General Olusegun Obasanjo in his rascality of power with a stroke of pen. I am profoundly in sorrow and in pity with Bakassi and their unborn generations over the injustice meted to them just simply because they are a vulnerable minority. My compassion is unreservedly extended to their ancestors who must also be in a state of bewilderment over their citizenships in the land of the dead in Bakassi Peninsula.

In nutshell Bakassi Peninsula is located at the extreme eastern end of the Gulf of Guinea and had been in dispute between Nigeria and Cameroun until 10th of October 2002 when the International Court of Justice unjustly ruled that Nigeria should hand the disputed area to Cameroun.

Because of the interest of these few political cabals of the world in the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula and because they know how to foment trouble in Africa so that their machine gun factories could boom they hid under the shadow of Cameroon and gave one of the most cruel judgements ever known by history against a country. It was an open secret to those that followed this issue then that France was solidly behind Cameroon urging them to press harder for they were firmly supported in the wake of war or in court against Nigeria. With this knowledge at the back of the mind of our legal team and having seen the panel of justice made up more of the French people should have raised an objection knowing where their interests were, even though that it might not have made any or much difference in the judgement whether the Italians or Germans etc. replaced the French judges because they are all the same monsters in the same train and evil. The international conspiracy that gave Cameroon Bakassi Peninsula was a rape, wicked and a judicial murder of Bakassi children by the so-called International Court of Justice. The judgement was condemned both locally and internationally by those that have got conscience. A leading member of the Nigeria’s legal team and a former Nigerian Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Chief Richard Akinjide condemned the judgment by saying that “This judgment is a complete fraud, 50% international law and 50% international politics, blatantly biased, unfair and a total disaster.”

How did Obasanjo treat what had been tagged a national disaster?  Constitutionally the national assembly was supposed to ratify the Green Tree Treaty that gave Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon before the execution but Obasanjo without regard to the constitution, without regard to the feelings and the future of the Bakassi people hurriedly ceded Bakassi to Cameroun in a suspicious manner. Such abuse of power was an impeachable offence which many social commentators wanted the senators to enforce against Obasanjo. However, according to unconfirmed source Obasanjo was dreaded and feared and had intimidated the senators to submission with his vindictive nature and lawlessness of his ruling era, therefore no senator had had the liver to move such motion in this regard against him because those that had tried to impeach him for his other constitutional flaws and failed were doomed. But as soon as Obasanjo transferred power to late president Umaru Musa Yaradua on 29.04.2007, approximately six months later the Nigerian senate passed a resolution declaring that the withdrawal of Nigeria from the Bakassi Peninsula was illegal citing the Green Tree Agreement that ceded Bakassi to Cameroon as against the 1999 constitution section 12(1) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The House of Assembly’s sudden wake to defend the oath of office they took to uphold the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria had excited the Bakassi indigenes and gave them hope of not living behind their treasured identities and culture. However, this hope seems to have been finally extinguished again since the senators have officially gone to bed like the way they woke up and the executive arm of government equally still insensitive to the historical damage of the Bakassi people and thus adamant on the objection that had been earlier raised by the sleeping senate. 

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We will always be remembered for two things, the problems we solved and the ones we created. There is no perfect leader and there is no absolutely bad leader, therefore one amongst the good deeds I remember Obasanjo for in Nigeria was the decentralization of the Nigerian military. Some actions of northerners in discrediting and distracting President Good Luck Jonathan from giving Nigerians the dividend of democracy and their threat of wars now show that perhaps if the Nigerian military structure was still the way it had been before Obasanjo came possibly President Goodluck Jonathan would have been overthrown through a military coup. On the other side of the coin, it should be recalled that it was under Obasanjo that Nigeria witnessed the kidnapping of a seating Governor and nothing happened. It was equally under him that Nigeria witnessed the highest number of induced impeachments in the Senate and House of Reps in the annals of the country’s history. How about a situation where seven members of the State House of Assembly succeeded in impeaching a seating Governor? Therefore, when he hastily ceded Bakassi people to Cameroun without following due process so many people fumed. A renowned human right crusader late Gani Fawehinmi had asked Obasanjo that “If Bakassi was in Ogun State where you come from, would you have ceded it to a foreign country?”

Please General Obasanjo was it not the same International Court of Justice that ruled the case between Israel and Palestine over East Jerusalem and Gaza? Are the Israelis still not occupying Palestinian territory with Britain, France and USA as their staunch supporters? How about the judgment between Britain and Argentina over Falkland Island? Are the British people still not occupying the Falkland Island? How about the judgement between USA and Cuba over Guantanamo Bay by the same International Court of Justice? Is the USA still not occupying the Cuba territory? Why was Bakassi rapidly rushed and ceded away just like that to Cameroon? Or is it that the implementation of the judgement in our own case would have been done differently because we are a third world country? How about Eritrea and Ethiopia? Ethiopia still occupy’s the Eritrean territory and nothing has happened. Ethiopia and Eritrea put together are not as rich or as powerful as Nigeria in global politics. Ironically unlike the examples cited above where the other countries occupied the territories that did not belong to them but simply because they could suppress the annex countries, Bakassi Peninsula belongs truly and historically to Nigeria and that makes it agonizing.

I have no iota of doubt in my mind that if Obasanjo was a native of Bakassi and Nigeria got this kind of high international judicial robbery in the name of judgement, and as a man at the most powerful position in Africa (the president of Nigeria) then, that he would definitely not have given Bakassi away the way he did. Expectedly, he would have used his position to exhaust every available channels open like referendum including war to fight and maintain his Nigerian status, though I do not subscribe to war in any form.

Professor Wole Soyinka asked Obasanjo the same question late Gani Fawehinmi had asked as stated above and until Obasanjo proffers a reasonable and satisfactory answer to the question, his judgement that led to his action of ceding Bakassi arbitrarily should be condemned.

The Bakassi people look like conquered people because they have been emotionally weakened and traumatised. According to some Bakassi indigenes their history and culture had been sold away and they are forced to quickly leave Bakassi so that some pocket of some highly privileged Nigerians could swell. The citizens of Bakassi have been put in sorrow and pain by the Nigerian government. Immediately their culture, history and properties were forcefully handed over to Cameroun amidst tears of helplessness in defeat they were painfully ordered by the federal government to decide whether to be Cameroonians or Nigerians as if it was as easy as eating ‘Amala’. Even those that picked courage to come to Nigeria with tears for re-establishment as promised by the federal government have been abandoned. They have been made to be refugees living in misery, without housing, land to crop, school, clinic, drinkable water or food to eat. What an agony! The spirits of Bakassi Peninsula ancestors in Cameroon are crying, the true sons and daughters of Bakassi Peninsula are crying and there has never been peace where there is no justice, therefore show true love and genuine concern to the plight of Bakassi indigenes for Nigeria to have peace.

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I appeal to all progressive minded Nigerians and friends of Cross River State to please support the Bakassi people morally, legally and otherwise to address the injustice that they have been subjected to in their bid not to lose their root. Their efforts to attract the attention of the Senate and “Aso Rock” to see if there is still any legal loophole left for a redress since the Green Tree Treaty was not ratified before execution should equally be supported. Let the process of Nigeria’s healing start now with Bakassi Peninsula indigenes. They are also seeking the legal attention of the UN to give them room for a referendum of deciding their future. The federal government should please support them seriously and honestly towards this direction because a plebiscite seems to be another legal way that looks realisable to upturn this international legalised fraud. They must also be protected against the constant brutal attack of the Cameroonian army. Furthermore, the federal government must be reasonable and live up to its responsibilities and address the sorry living state of the people as refugees in their country to avoid careless deaths and increase of crime in Cross River and its neighbouring states. The children of the Bakassi people must be given a better opportunity of going to school unlike what is obtainable now because education is the highest gift you could give to any child. Importantly, the spirits of the Bakassi ancestors in the land of the dead in Cameroon are similarly crying and wailing. They are also protesting because they are not Cameroonians and do not know how they could explain that while they were alive that they were Nigerians and now that they are dead that they are Cameroonians. Their condemnation to an irredeemable discrimination and wailing in the spirit world in Cameroun equally needs to be addressed, therefore bestow them some degree of recognition and give them mass reburial in Nigeria’s land if the judgement on Bakassi stands as it is now for our culture respects the dead. I cannot imagine myself buried in Austria or in any other foreign land under any guise. Please tell me what I should be doing with people like Hitler in the spirit world?

The spirits of the Bakassi ancestors MUST PLEASE be reburied in Nigeria because they are angry and tired to answer homeless spirits or roaming visitors in Bakassi. Anything contrarily to this I advocate that any Nigerian that has played any role to the distress of Bakassi indigenes including 1966-1970, please when they die they should not be buried in Nigeria but in Ethiopia, Somalia or Niger Republic where their spirits will be visitors as well and troubled like the spirits of the Bakassi ancestors that are presumed to be in sorrow and discriminated in the land of the dead in Cameroon for whatever you sow you must surely reap.

A concerned citizen, Uzoma Ahamefule writes from Vienna, Austria

uzomaah@yahoo.com. +436604659620 sms only.

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