Cameroonian leader snubbed Obasanjo over Bakassi – Duke
By Tunde Opeseitan/Lagos
Former Governor of Cross Rivers State, Donald Duke, on Monday, narrated the high-powered underground intrigues that characterised the events leading to the ceding of Bakassi Peninsular to Republic of Cameroon, pursuant to the judgment of International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Duke, who spoke in Lagos at a special lecture to commemorate the 60th birthday of retired judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Charles Archibong, recalled that the Cameroonian President, Paul Biya, snubbed former President Olusegun Obasanjo at Yaounde's Airport over an earlier clash between him and former Nigeria's Military Head of State, late General Sani Abacha.
The lecture was with the theme: "The Judgement of the ICJ on Sovereignty Over Bakassi: Aftermath, Lessons and the Legal Option of Self-determination."
The former governor stressed that one thing led to the other and the out-of-court settlement failed, while Nigeria's legal team assured then that the country had a good case before the ICJ.
He added: "You see, the issue of Bakassi is interesting. There was the legal aspect and there was the international politics aspect of it. Behind the scene, a lot of meetings took place and in a bid to attend one of those meetings, we arrived at the airport in Cameroon with the then Nigeria's President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and at the airport, President Biya was there seeing of another leader, but he snubbed us.
"He (Biya) left us at the airport for close to two to three hours and we were there at the airport with embassy staff not knowing what to do. Grudgingly, he met with us and lectured us on Bakkasi. We later found out that he was reacting to an earlier confrontation between him and General Abacha over Bakassi," Duke narrated.
Guest lecturer and Head of Department of Public and International Law at the University of Calabar, Dr. Eni Aja Alobo, stressed that it was unfortunate that Nigeria was not focusing on the catalogue of inexplicable and unjustifiable harassment, intimidation and extra-judicial killings of Nigerians living in Bakassi by the Cameroonian gendarmes.
Specifically, Alobo lamented that President Goodluck Jonathan ought to have utilised the opportunity of addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to draw the attention of the world to the inhuman treatment being meted to Nigerians by the Cameroonian security agencies.
According to the university don, "The issue which has thus become imperative to address is how to save the people of Bakkasi from the negative implications and consequences of the ICJ's decision and protect them from the brutal/brutish proclivity of the Cameroon Government."