Nigeria: Bakassi Declaration – Civil Rights Groups Want Government to Dialogue With People

4 years ago 3

Civil Rights groups in the country have urged the Federal Government to dialogue with the Bakassi people over their recent declaration of self independence.

Bakassi Self-Determination Front (BSDF), declared self-independence on Thursday, hoisted their official flag and launched a radio station.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands, had ruled in Oct. 2002 that the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula belonged to Cameroon. Reacting to the development, PRONACO said there was need for Nigeria to open talks with the Bakassi leadership.

PRONACO spokesman, Mr Wale Okuniyi, claims that "the situation requires an appeal from Nigeria to get them on its side. While we acknowledge and support the right of the Bakassi people to self determination, we also know that they had clamoured to remain Nigerians. However, we hope that talks could make them reconsider their stand to be independent."

Lagos State Chairman of the CLO, Mr Ehi Omokhuale, also urged Nigeria to show some interest in having the Bakassi people back.

"Bakassi may have been ceded to Cameroon but the people had always craved to belong to Nigeria. Their decision may have arisen from frustrations of belonging to nowhere."

Omokhuale, however, said that the declaration of independence by the Bakassi people was "okay" as long as it conformed to the UN provisions.

But spokesman for the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Mr Yinka Odumakin, said that only the UN could wade into the matter. He described the situation as unfortunate, reiterating that the Bakassi people were pushed into "going independent".

"This is their way of showing distaste at being lumped with Cameroun and having dashed hopes for almost a decade now. Only the UN can wade in to ensure that they meet with its provisions on referendum-plebiscite before the declaration." Home Page

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