The quest for legal ID by inhabitants of disputed Cameroonian territory Bakassi

Published: 29/Jan/2024
Source: Biometric Update

By Ayang Macdonald

Along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean in southwestern Cameroon lies an oil-rich peninsular called Bakassi, a territory full of history. Once controlled by Nigeria for dozens of years, the disputed area is now under the control of the Cameroonian government. Most of its residents still lack legal ID.

The dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria over Bakassi, which saw bloodshed in some border communities in the 1980s and 1990s, was eventually settled following an October 10, 2002 ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

This was followed by the subsequent signing of the Green Tree Accord in 2006 in the United States of America between Cameroon’s President Paul Biya and then Nigerian leader, Olusegun Obasanjo, in the presence of the United Nations Secretary General at the time, Kofi Annan. This agreement spelled out how Nigeria would progressively withdraw its authority and troops from communities that make up the peninsula.

Cameroon finally regained full sovereignty over Bakassi on August 14, 2008 in a symbolic ceremony which took place in the Nigerian city of Calabar. But 15 years after that full take-over of authority, Bakassi remains mired in a litany of problems.

Cameroonian authorities estimate that about 90 percent of inhabitants of all Bakassi settlements are Nigerians. While thousands of others departed to Nigeria, these ones chose to stay in the territory.

Read further:

Themes: Acquisition of nationality, ID Documents and Passports, State Succession, Border Changes
Regions: Cameroon
Year: 2024