Stateless in Bakassi: How a changed border left inhabitants adrift

Published: 2/Apr/2012
Source: Open Society Foundations

By Chidi Odinkalu The peninsula of Bakassi has long been the subject of a territorial dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria. Now it shows what can happen to people when control over the territory where they live shifts from one country to another. Tens of Thousands of people, possibly more, who inhabited (and some of whom still inhabit) the peninsula have lost access to nationality or citizenship rights, and now live in a legal limbo. In October 2002, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague decided that Bakassi was part of Cameroon, not Nigeria. Until then, Bakassi had been part of Nigeria and was one of the 774 units of local government in the country. The United Nations subsequently mediated negotiations between Nigeria and Cameroon to ensure effective implementation of the ICJ decision.

Read further on Open Society Foundations website: Stateless in Bakassi: How a Changed Border Left Inhabitants Adrift

Themes: State Succession, Border Changes, Statelessness
Regions: Central Africa, Cameroon, West Africa, Nigeria
Year: 2012