Buhari Assures Nigeria to Halt Oil Exploration in Bakassi Peninsula
President Muhammadu Buhari has tied the Cameroonian government’s ability to access Bakassi Peninsula to exploit hydrocarbon deposits to when the joint technical committee on the Green Tree Agreement will submit its report.
This is even as his Cameroonian counterpart, Paul Biya, has denied that his country was ever a safe haven to terrorist sect, Boko Haram.
Both leaders spoke at a joint press conference to end Biya’s two-day working visit on Buhari’s invisitation to Nigeria.
Buhari told Biya that there was no cause for Cameroonians to lose sleep over the Peninsula as the committee’s outcome would put paid to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) resolutions.
A technical committee, comprising experts from both countries is currently working to fine-tune some grey areas, bothering on identity, resettlement, compensation for loss of territory, oil exploration, development of Day Spring Island, socio-cultural differences, fishing right, amongst other issues before full implementation of resolutions spelt out by the ICJ.
President Buhari at a joint press conference with Biya, advised Cameroonian nationals not to lose sleep over Bakassi, saying the committee’s outcome would put paid to the ICJ resolutions.
Buhari said, ”On this Bakassi Peninsula issue, I will like the government and people of Cameroun to keep their minds at peace, Nigeria is internationally respectful and abiding nation, somehow there was a crisis between the two nations on Bakassi Penisula over the hydrocarbon exploitation, this issue has been dealt with by the International Court of Justice.
“There is a technical committee of experts, comprising Cameroun and Nigeria sides, until this committee report gets to us and when they submit the report, I expect that with a few of us that are still around, we shall sit together and see what is the best way for the two countries, so feel secured and be at peace”.
On the war against insurgency, Buhari attributed the degradation of Boko Haram sect to the assistance rendered by Cameroon through the joint border operations.
He said he would remain grateful to the Lake Chad Basin Commission which aided the Federal Government in no small measure to over-power the terrorists group.
Speaking on allegation that Cameroon was safe haven for Boko Haram, Biya said it was nothing but media propaganda, adding that he wouldn’t have condescended so low as to assist the terrorists, when it would not be of ideological or economic benefit to his country.
Biya said, “Yes, I have heard of this information, I heard it in New York during conference that Cameroon serves as base for Boko Haram, but what can Cameroon benefit from that? Is it the ideologies, are we going to benefit from finances? No it was just a bad press and Cameroon remains focused and committed to the fight against Boko Haram”.
Both Buhari and Biya condemned the activities of the sect while also applauding the military for degrading the Boko Haram sect.
In a communique made available to the press, both countries also welcomed ongoing discussions on the fate of arrested Boko Haram members arrested in each of their countries and stressed the
need for a judicial framework that will ensure their fair trail and if need be, be transferred to their countries in accordance with international best practices.
Biya said, ”Nigerian and Cameroon military under the multinational joint task force, especially the two recent joint operations conducted in Ngoshe and Kumti, both within the Nigerian territory and the ongoing clearance operation being carried out by militaries of the two countries to bring the activities of the terrorists to an end is highly commendable”.
Both Presidents agreed that the tripartite meeting of the two countries and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) be convened by July 2016, with a view to agreeing on a framework for the safe return of Nigerian refugees currently hosted by Cameroon.
Earlier in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both countries, the leaders pledged readiness to work together to harness investments potentials.
While President Buhari advised that agriculture was the only way to effectively diversify a mono-economy like Nigeria’s, both countries pledged to open up opportunities for their people.
Part of the MoU centred on modalities for the construction of a bridge over the Nile river that will link Belel in Nigeria and Damsan in Cameroon and related
infrastructure along the Jabi Lamba Garuwa corridor.
The two Presidents expressed commitment to the upcoming second session of the regional security summit in Abuja on the 14th of May 2016 and pledged to fully participate in the processes and to implement the outcome of the meeting to ensure peace and security in the Lake Chad Basin.
The two Presidents welcomed the increased interests by investors of
both countries in each other’s economies as a measure that will strengthen and expand the already mutual, beneficial economic cooperations between the two countries.
They pledge readiness to work together to harness the investments potentials that both countries have in order to open up opportunities for their people and urged the ministers of economics in the two
countries to convene the Nigeria, Cameroon forum in Abuja as soon as
They welcomed reports from a meeting between the two countries on the
modalities for the construction of a bridge over the Nile Tier river that will link Belel inn Nigeria and Damsan in Cameroon and related infrastructure along the Jabi Lamba Garuwa corridor and directed for the early signing of the MoU and terms of reference as well as the execution of the project.
Concerning the demarcation of borders in the remaining areas between the two countries, both leaders agreed that following the gradual return of peace to affected areas experts of both countries should resume the demarcation exercise as soon as possible.
The two Presidents welcomed the border agreement in the domain of High Carbon which has already been initialed and have agreed to take concrete measures towards signing.