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House To Use Diplomatic Means In Resolving Disputed Nig-Cameroon Communities

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The House of Representatives says it will explore diplomatic solutions towards resolving the plight of Nigerian citizens in Danare and Biajua communities at the disputed Nigeria Cameroon border.

The Chairman of the House Adhoc committee probing the potential land encroachment at the border by the Cameroonian government, Ms Beni Lar stated this during the proceedings of the committee.

According to the Lawmaker, it will be inhuman to allow the affected communities to lose their preferred nationality.

She said “There has to be a political solution on this issue. There has to be a way to keep our brothers and sisters in Nigeria by using diplomatic channels.

“I can’t imagine waking up and be told you are not a Nigerian. How would you feel? From the human rights angle there has to be a way where on compassionate grounds we find a way to solve this issue”.

Ms Lar spoke after she was informed by an official of the justice ministry that the 10 years window for Nigeria to appeal the judgment of the international court of justice (ICJ) ruling that ceded Bakassi and other parts of the country to Cameroon had elapsed.

She stated that the committee would embark on a fact finding mission to the affected areas, expressing readiness to meet with top government functionaries including the Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Federation to achieve the objective.

A member of the committee, Mr Francis Waive who sympathised with the plight of the communities assured that the House would not allow an inch of Nigerian territory to be ceded to Cameroon again.

A representative of the Human Rights Commission who testified before the committee remarked that Nigerians in the affected communities stood the risk of finding themselves as a stateless people if the matter is not resolved in due course.

However, the Director General of the National Boundary Commission, Mr Adamu Adaji contended that the boundary demarcation was in tandem with the Green Tree agreement reached between both countries after the ICJ judgement.

He said 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 Cameroon-Nigeria mixed Commission.

While stating that the the Commission did not adjust but only reestablished the boundary, he blamed the situation on the Cross River State Government for refusing to cooperate with his outfit on situating pillars 113A appropriately.

Adaji urged the Cross River State Government to liase with the Federal Government to address the concerns bordering on farmlands raised by the affected communities.

A community leader from Boki, Cletus Obun, called for urgent intervention to avoid the loss of land and displacement of the people.

The Danare and Biajua communities and about 7,000–10,000 hectares of land in the Boki Area of Cross River State risked being lost to Cameroon according to a motion by lawmakers last week.

Oduyemi Odumade, Edited By Grace Namiji

Written by: Bukky Alabi

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