11 February 2014

Nigeria: Cameroun Demarcates Cross River Villages for Annexation - 20 Communities Affected

Photo: David Hecht/IRIN
Houses along the coast of Bakassi.

Buoyed by the successful ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to it, the Republic of Cameroun is currently carrying out a demarcation of border villages in Cross River State in preparation for its full annexation. The government of Cameroun in conjunction with some officials of the United Nations embarked on the exercise about 10 days ago, according to a petition to Governor Liyel Imoke written by one of the communities affected in the demarcation exercise, Danare. These border villages were not among the Nigerian communities ceded to the Republic of Cameroun in the aftermath of the judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which awarded the ownership of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun. Since then, Nigeria had lost some villages to that country.

In the petition entitled: "Protest Against the Illegal Demarcation of Nigeria-Cameroun Boundary," the chiefs and people of Danare Community in Boki Local Government Area alleged that there had been an illegal demarcation of the boundary between Nigeria and Cameroun at Danare including other adjoining communities. "It will be recalled that the Nigeria-Cameroun Joint Commission in conjunction with the UN are retracing the boundary sequel to the judgment of the ICJ at the Hague over Bakassi Peninsula. The surveyors that are saddled with the responsibility of retracing the pillars depicting the boundary started the job at the axis of the boundary from pillar 110 to pillar 113 which is some meters away from the Primary School Danare 1 in Boki Local Government Area. "Efforts at retracing pillar 113A which distances six miles (9.6km) from pillar 113 by the surveyors had proved abortive. Consequent upon their inability to retrace pillar 113A, the Danare community asked the surveyors to stop creating new boundary lines and visit the archives to garner information or request the appropriate authority to oblige them with well defined maps that would enable them to navigate the seemingly confusing situation they are confronted with," the petition said.

Signed by the village head of Danare, Chief K.K. Mbia; the community chairman, Clement Abang and youth leader, Lawcity Mbia, the people said they were disappointed that the surveyors were in a hurry to do their job irrespective of the consequences that may arise. When contacted, the Chief Press Secreatry to the state governor, Mr. Christian Ita, said there was no cause for alarm as the state would not lose any of its communities to Cameroun. "We are on top of the situation. There is no cause for alarm. The state will not lose any of its communities to Cameroun."

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