Source: Vanguard (Abuja)
ABUJA – Natives of Bakassi Peninsula have cried out to the international community for assistance to be fully integrated into either Nigeria or Cameroon, saying they are at present, nearly stateless.
They said since the 2002 judgment of the International Court of Justice ICJ which years ago ceded the peninsula to Cameroon, they have become stateless as the Francophone country treats them as foreigners.
“Nigerians are now witnesses to the suffering, deprivation and neglect the displaced people of Bakassi now suffer as a result of the ICJ judgment which ceded the peninsula to Cameroon and the hurried manner in which the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo handed over the ancestral land of the people of Cameroon, thus making Nigeria the first country in history to cede its territory and willingly agreed to displace its own citizen in their home land”, the said.
Coordinator of the Bakassi Advocacy Media Group, Ene Okon in a statement issued Saturday in Abuja said “Bakassi Peninsula has a long history of being attacked by hostile Cameroonians security forces. Recall that during the civilian administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, five Nigerian soldiers were killed on Bakassi soil and the administration immediately mobilized troops to challenge Cameroon. In fact, Shagari stated correctly that it was the discovery of oil in large quantity in the Bakassi region that aggravated the problem of international maritime boundary.
“Today, the displaced ones live like refugees in their father land. The ones that choose to remain where ICJ gave to Cameroon are now classified as stateless people as they cannot vote or be voted for and are heavily taxed and treated like foreigners”.