The Senate, yesterday, declared total rejection of the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon following the judgment of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, and directed President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently appeal the judgment.
Senators during an emotion-laden debate expressed shock at the approach applied by the Federal Government in the handing over of Bakassi to Cameroon without referendum by the people of Bakassi as stipulated by the United Nations, UN.
Senate President, David Mark, who presided over the motion, maintained that Bakassi could not be ceded to Cameroon, adding that he would write to President Jonathan to immediately begin the appeal process which expires in nine days time.
According to him, “the resolution that we need to make is that Bakassi should not be ceded to Cameroon. I think that is the final objective of our decision.
“If we do not go to an appeal at all while we have subjected ourselves to the international court, I think that will be a grievous mistake. There is room for us to appeal. Going on an appeal is a line of action that we should not reject. If that is what is available through the court, we should utilise it. I think that is the most appropriate thing to do now. The most we should do now is to quickly rush an appeal in spite of what the President said at the UN.
“We have obeyed the international court to this point, but we still do not accept it. It is not that we accept it, we have simply obeyed their decision. We have not accepted it. There is a lot of pressure at home here and I think it is the belief of every Nigerian that we should not cede Bakassi, not the way it has happened. I think that is really where the problem is.”
Mark assured that the Senate would go ahead with all legislative processes to ensure that the judgment is over turned in favour of Nigeria.
He said: “There is a host of other things, letters written to National Assembly are actually here and we on our part have not done anything. We have neither rejected it nor said anything. They just came and went like that.
“We will revisit the letters and whilst we are urging the Federal Government to go on an appeal, we on our part will revisit the letters and see what we can do from our own side, may be to quickly again come up with a debate and then reject it and forward it to buttress our points and to buttress our resolutions arrived at today (yesterday),” he added.
Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi, leading debate on the motion urged Nigeria to appeal the judgment, stating that the whole process that led to ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon was full of irregularities. He argued that both Cameroon and Nigeria had not fully complied with details of the judgment, adding that new facts have emerged to show that the peninsula belongs to Nigeria, in accordance with article 61 of the ICJ.
He said: “The dateline of the judgment of the ICJ on the International Boundaries between Nigeria and Cameroon including Bakassi that cedes Bakassi Island from the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Republic of Cameroon would expire by October 9, 2012.