Calabar—Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State assured on Monday that no part of the state would be ceded to Cameroon any longer.
Otu made the declaration at a public hearing organised by an ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives, according to the Vanguard newspaper.
The committee is investigating a land tussle between Danare community in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River and Biajua community, split between Cross River and Cameroon.
Following on a 2002 judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Nigeria began the ceding of parts of the Bakassi Peninsula in Cross River to Cameroon in 2006.
The territory was completely ceded to Cameroon on Aug. 14 2008, exactly two years after the first part of it was transferred.
Mr. Emmanuel Ironbar, Chief of Staff to Gov. Otu, who represented the governor at the public hearing said the state was still nursing the consequences of the loss of Bakassi and its 76 oil wells to Cameroun.
He said Cross River believed that the issue could be revisited.
He urged the committee to invite relevant stakeholders involved in the loss of the oil-rich peninsula so as to get to the root of the matter.
“I commend the House of Representatives for setting up the ad-hoc committee to investigate the disputed borders in Danare and Biajua communities.
“The visitation of the committee members to the disputed pillars 113 and 114 in Boki communities is a welcome development and will help you to put up painstaking reports.
“Let it be known that Cross River will no longer allow any part of its lands to be ceded to Cameroon in the name of implementing the 2002 judgment of the ICJ,’’ the governor’s representative said.
Addressing stakeholders at the public hearing, Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Hon. Beni Lar, said the House passed a resolution on July 5 to investigate the circumstances leading to the boundary dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon.
He said the essence was to unravel the circumstances leading to the non-traceability and displacement of an important international pillar–113A in the demarcation of the boundary between Nigeria and the Cameroon.
He maintained that border demarcation pillars along the Biajua and Danare axis of Boki Local Government Area of Cross River went as far as Sina area in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa.
In their submissions, leaders of Danare and Biajua communities led by a former legislator, Mr Cletus Obung, said Federal Government’s attitude over the matter had not been encouraging.
“In spite of pleas to the Nigerian government to make strong statements and ensure that the contentious Pillar 113A is found and restored, its attitude has not been encouraging.
“The Nigerian government has not made a strong statement to intervene in the situation and prevent our communities from being ceded to the republic of Cameroon; this is disappointing,’’ he noted.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that after the ceding of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon in 2008, its indigenes have yet to be properly resettled in Cross River.