OBASANJO’S ADMINISTRATION AND THE MANAGEMENT OF THE NIGERIA-CAMERON DISPUTE: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE RULING AND PROTECTION OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE OF BAKASSI PENINSULA

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ABSTRACT

The Nigeria-Cameroun border conflict, which had claimed many lives and properties, was finally resolved on October 2002 following the ICJ ruling which ceded the disputed Bakassi Peninsula to the Republic of Cameroon. The rapidity with which President Obasanjo implemented the handover of Bakassi to Cameroon was seen in the average eye of a Nigerian as a diplomatic blunder considering the historical underpinnings of the people of Bakassi. This study was therefore aimed at a critical examination of the fundamental rights of the people of Bakassi Peninsula in the management of the Nigerian-Cameroun dispute by President Obasanjo. In doing this, the study was anchord on two research questions, thus: (1) Did Olusegun Obasanjo’s support for the ICJ ruling over the disputed Bakassi Peninsula undermine Nigeria’s national interest in the protection of her citizens and territorial integrity?; (2) Has the Nigerian government is inability to explore alternative policy options to ICJ ruling undermined the right to decide where to belong by the Bakassi people?. We used qualitative descriptive method to collect data from secondary sources. Qualitative descriptive method was equally used in analyzing our data. Thus, applying logically the core assumptions of Games theory, the study contended that Obasanjo’s acceptance of the ICJ ruling to cede away the disputed Bakassi Peninsula to Republic of Cameroon was against the national interest of Nigeria. Arising from this therefore, we recommended, among other things, that Nigerian foreign policy machinery should be henceforth situated and located in the hands of experts.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Abstract
Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Significance of the Study
1.5       Hypotheses
1.6       Thesis and Contributions to Knowledge

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1       Literature Review
2.2       Theoretical Framework

CHAPTER THREE: METHOD OF RESEARCH
3.1 Method of Data Collection
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Method of Data Analysis
3.4 Logical Data Framework

CHAPTER FOUR: BACKGROUND TO THE BAKASSI DISPUTE
4.1 Geography of the Nigerian Cameroun Boundary
4.2 Evolution of Colonial Boundaries
4.3 British/German Administration and Obfuscation of the Nigeria-Cameroun Colonial International Boundary
4.4 The Place of General Gowon in the Bakassi Dispute
4.5 Abacha’s Effort
4.6 The climax of the Bakassi Dispute

CHAPTER FIVE: OLUSEGUN OBASANJO’S SUPPORT OF THE ICJ RULING OVER THE DISPUTED  BAKASSI AND NIGERIA’S NATIONAL INTEREST IN THE PROTECTION OF HER CITIZENS’ RIGHTS AND TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY
5.1 Signing of the Green Tree Agreement Between Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Paul Biya of Cameroun
5.2 The World Court Judgment and Olusegun Obasanjo’s Support of the UN Mixed-Commission
5.3 Obasanjo’s Support of the Demarcation of Land and Maritime Boundaries Between Nigeria and Cameroun
5.4 Support of Withdrawal of Nigeria’s Civilian Administration, Military and Police Forces from Bakassi
5.5 The Effects of the World Court Judgment on the Bakassi People

CHAPTER SIX: NIGERIA GOVERNMENT INABILITY TO EXPLORE ALTERNATIVE POLICY OPTIONS TO ICJ RULING AND THE RIGHT OF BAKASSI PEOPLE TO DECIDE WHERE TO BELONG
6.1 Political Option
6.2  Legal Option
6.3  Military Options
6.4 The Right of Bakassi People to Decide where to Belong

CHAPTER SEVEN: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
7.1 Summary
7.2 Conclusion
7.3 Recommendations
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Appendix


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1  Background of the Study          
The dispute along the Nigeria-Cameroun border was a matter of historic proportions, especially along the Cross River to the Sea section wherein the Bakassi Peninsula (Ekpenyong, 1989) lies. The disputed Bakassi Peninsula is an area of some of mangrove swamp and half submerged islands mostly occupied by fishermen settlers (Anene, 1970). Remarkably, Bakassi Peninsula came under British protection on September 10, 1884. Following the Berlin West African Conference of 1885, Britain and Germany defined their territorial spheres of influence in Africa in November 15, 1893. When the two installments of amalgamation were proclaimed in Nigeria in 1906 and 1914, the Bakassi Peninsula was subsumed under the frontiers of Southern Cameroon. Then the London Treaty of March 11, 1913 established clear-cut regulations on navigation on the Cross River. The end of World War I brought Bakassi under British Cameroon. During the interwar years, the Franco British Declaration of July 10, 1919 on Bakassi and what came to be known as British-Cameroon were placed under British mandate and were administered conterminously with Nigeria. In 1946 following the end of World War II Britain divided Cameroon into Northern Cameroon and Southern Cameroon (Idumange, 2010). While Southern Cameroun fell under the British colony, the Northern Cameroun was administered by France. Upon gaining political independence by Nigeria and Cameroun as well as the discovery of oil and other natural resources in the Bakassi Peninsula, the border conflict between the two countries began to gather fresh momentum.
Successive Nigerian governments had made various efforts in settling the Bakassi question. Specifically, after the ‘Maroon Accord reached between the Heads of state, General Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria and Ahmadu Ahidjo of Cameroon in which Gowon allegedly gave out the territory to Cameroon, General Murtala Mohammed that took over from the Gowon military regime threatened that rather than accept the outrageous agreement, Nigeria would go to war if Cameroonians refused further negotiations (Babatola and Jadesola, 2012). On assumption of office as the military head of state after the bloody coup d’etat that led to the assassination of General Murtala in 1976, Obasanjo made significant efforts to re-open the border negotiations with the Cameroonian authorities with little or no achievement recorded (Babatola and Jadesola, 2012)
Between May 15th 1981 and 1993, the Peninsula remained a subject of serious dispute, between Cameroon and Nigeria with scores of lives lost due to military aggressions and tribal squabbles (Olumide, 2002). As tension continued to mount and many more lives lost as a result of the conflict, the Cameroonian government got tired and, on March 24, 1994, filed a law suit against Nigeria at the International Court of Justice, at Hague, seeking an injunction for the expulsion of Nigerian force, which they said were occupying the territory and to restrain Nigeria from laying claim to sovereignty over the peninsula.
Remarkebly, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling (on Thursday 10th October 2002) over the Bakassi conflict in favor of Cameroon (against the wish of the Bakassi people and the majority of Nigerians) during the Obasanjo Civilian Administration has indeed, opened a vista of debates among scholars pertains to the implications of the ICJ position on the national interest and in extension, foreign policy of Nigeria
Against this background, this study critically examines the fundamental rights of the people of Bakassi Peninsula in the management of the Nigerian-Cameroun dispute under President Obasanjo civilian administration.
1.2 Statement of the problem
At the core of foreign policy of any given state is its national interest. Thus, according to Igwe (2007:157):
Foreign policy is the coordinated application of the elements of national power for the promotion of national interest as defined by the ruling class in relations between states and other international actors, a practical substantiation of grand-strategy, the external expression of domestic policy and the main object of foreign policy analysis

Since actors in the international system are numerous, interest pursuing cannot exist without interacting with other actors in the system. It therefore behooves on them to draw up well-defined programmes and activities coupled with certain behavioral traits or tendencies with which it interacts with other actors so as to maximize their interest, and possibly, even at the detriment of other actors in the system (Ofoeze, 2011)

            Interestingly, at the core of Nigerian foreign policy is the advancement of her national interest, especially as it affects the interests of the citizens. But suffice it to say that President Obasanjo’s diplomatic approach to Nigerian-Cameroun border dispute, which eventually led to Bakassi people being ceded away to Cameroun, had indeed, raised serious debate as it concerns the Nigeria’s national interest......

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