The House of Representatives has resolved to stop ongoing plans to cede Danare and Biajua communities in Boki local government area of Cross River State, through Pillar 113A, to the Republic of Cameroun.
This followed the adoption of a motion jointly sponsored by members of Cross River Caucus, who solicited for the intervention of the House.
Rep. Victor Abang (APC-Cross River), while speaking on behalf of the Cross River Caucus, recalled that on October 10, 2002 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the proprietorship of the Bakassi peninsula belonged to Cameroun.
This, he said, was due to an agreement between the governments of Nigeria and Cameroun during the civil war.
He also said in July 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that Cross River had no right of ownership of over 76 oil wells due to the loss of its littoral status.
This, according to him, was when portions of the peninsula were ceded to Cameroun by the Federal Government.
“The ICJ ruling decides the retracing of the Cameroun-Nigeria International Boundary line from the Lake Chad region (Yola) to the Atlantic Ocean (Bakassi); subsequently the United Nations (UN) set up two committees to implement the judgment.
“This led to the establishment of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission (CNMC) made up of representatives from Nigeria, Cameroun and officials of the United Nations.
“The fieldwork which involves the location of the boundary points and placement of boundary pillars by the judgment was undertaken by a Joint Technical Team (JTT), a sub-body of the Cameroun-Nigeria mixed commission.
“With both countries’ representatives on the JTT, the technical expertise was supplied by a foreign contractor and paid by the CNMC.
“Cognizant that the field exercise or demarcation conducted by the JTT must be an adopted demarcation in any sector considered valid and conclusive by the CNMC, the Anglo-German agreement of the Cameroun-Nigeria boundary of 12 April 1913 indicated a total of 114 boundary pillars from the Lake Chad region (Yola Adamawa State) to Agbokim in Etung local government area of Cross River.
“It was planted by the Anglo-German and had serial numbers written on the pillars – six of the boundary pillars fall within the Danare community in Boki local government area of Cross River, the international boundary.
“This includes 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, and 113A respectively.
“The Anglo-German agreement clearly states that the contextual pillar 113A is 9.6 km from pillar 113 into the forest leading to pillar 114 that falls in Agbokim in Etung local government area,” he noted.
He expressed worry that the Joint Technical Team (JTT) had not located pillar 113A; and not tracing pillar 113A, it is planning to adopt a straight-line method, which would lead to losing Danare and Biajua communities.
He said about 7,000–10,000 hectares of land in the Boki Area of Cross River were ceded to the Republic of Cameroun.
The lawmaker argued that under the principles of federalism, the Federal Government had the responsibility to protect the territorial integrity of all federating units.
He said the Federal Government had no right to unilaterally cede, sell, mortgage, or allocate any part of a federating unit to another country without the consent of the House.
“There was a lack of concerted effort by the JTT to trace a critical pillar point that would determine the correct boundary line that had generated controversy.
“The team understands that they are lacking in their assignment because a critical pillar is yet to be retraced.
“Instead of the team going back and doing the needful, they decided to propose a straight-line projection to close the gap between pillar 113 to 114.
“If urgent actions are not taken by the Federal Government, the entire
country will lose the good people of Danare, Biajua and some parts of Obanliku area of Cross River to the Republic of Cameroun.
“Cross River may lose the good people of Danare and Biajua communities and their ancestral heritage of the land that they have protected all their lives to the Republic of Cameroun against their wishes and desires,” he added.
He said the missing pillar 113A might have been deliberately removed by the Camerounian government in their plot to take over the land and the people of Danare and Biajua communities.
He said if a country like Nigeria kept losing her people, lands, and natural and mineral resources to her neighbouring countries, one day the country might not have a place called Nigeria.
The House, however, resolved to invite the Director-General of the National Boundary Commission and Surveyor General of the Federation to explain why pillar 113A had not been found.
The House also resolved to investigate and assess the case of potential land encroachment by the Camerounian government and consult with legal experts, land surveyors, and other relevant professionals.
This, according to the House, was to ensure thorough understanding of the technical aspect involved in ending the encroachment, while also setting up an ad hoc committee for further legislative action.