Barely 45 days to October 10 when Nigeria will lose its right to appeal against the controversial judgment of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, which had in 2002, ceded the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula in Cross River State, to the Republic of Cameroon, the Senate yesterday said the agreement stands illegal until the National Assembly ratifies it even as the presidency still keeps mum on the verdict.
The Paramount ruler of Bakassi, in his reaction declared that the issue of Bakassi has gone beyond what Nigeria can handle as the people of the disputed Peninsula have decided to approach the UN to demand for a referendum in the area.
Going by the procedural rules of the ICJ, by October 10 this year which makes it exactly 10 years after the verdict was delivered, by the terms of the 2005 Green Tree Agreement, Nigeria’s cession of its erstwhile territory would be perfected, except she raises fresh issues for a review of the case.
Under the prevailing Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, Bakassi Peninsula remains and is still listed as part of the 774 local government councils in the federation.
Section 12(1) of the 1999 Constitution states that “No treaty between the Federation and any other country shall have the force of law except to the extent to which any such treaty has been enacted into law by the National Assembly.” Thus by implication, the divisive “Green Tree Agreement” can still be revoked by Nigeria under the constitution which is the graund-norm.
Reacting yesterday, the Senate said until the National Assembly ratifies the agreement and legislate on it, any action taken will not be legal.
In a message to Vanguard, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, PDP, Abia South said, “If National Assembly has not ratified the Green Tree Agreement, it is not yet legal.”