Its isn’t yet one week since the final hand-over ceremony of the bakassi peninsular from Nigeria to Cameroun took place and the stories emanating from the ceded region can best be described as unpalatable. On Saturday there were reports that several bakassians had fled the beleaguered community following growing tension between Cameroun gendarmes and militants from the Niger-delta. The Cameroonian gendarmes’ aggression was always a factor to contend with when several days to the hand-over, stern looking Cameroonian security forces sealed up the peninsula’s entry point only allowing departures. More worrisome were reports of a number of unprovoked shootings by some reckless gendarmes, but It isn’t that I did not expect sooner or later there’ll be unrest but then to imagine that Nigeria and Cameroun according to the dictates of the greentree agreement would be jointly cooperating in the administration of the peninsular for five years and there’s already a spanner in the works less than a week gone leaves my stomach churning
I remember that Nigeria’s attorney general and minister of justice, Michael Aandokaa immediately after the august event had warned Cameroonian authorities against intimidating Nigerians residing in the disputed peninsular. Except he was speaking with his tongue in his cheeks it meant that Camerounian authorities are to ensure that the rights of the inhabitants aren’t breached, this I believe could be the genesis of a long term crisis if not properly handled. Now is definitely the right time for nigeria to react. Each time there’s been a raid by the gendarmes the results have been same; the displacement of hundreds of bakassians from their settlements.
Last week’s hand-over ceremony played out without any incidents beside empty threats from roguish militants of the Niger Delta to disrupt the event. The fine point of the green tree agreement had been in the protection of their sources of livelihood and accomodations. This perhaps was the government’s palliative to the bakassians having failed to give them a proper opportunity through a plebiscite. The Nigerian government must walk the talk if it intends regaining the confidence of the several thousand bakassians. Through every diplomatic means available it must ensure that Cameroun abides by the greentree agreement, for the issue on ground transcends natural resource rather is ingrained in the deep ethos of national pride and ancient culture
EMMAFEMI , CONNECT AFRICA.