President Muhammadu Buhari has assured his Cameroonian counterpart, Mr Paul Biya, to put his mind at rest regarding allegations that Nigeria is still accessing crude oil and other hydrocarbon products from the oil-rich Bakassi despite the ruling of the International Court of Justice which ceded the territory to Cameroon.
At the joint briefing which took place after both countries signed a bilateral agreement on security, among others, between Nigeria and Cameroon, Buhari assured President Biya that Nigeria will not act contrary to the ruling of ICJ also stating that a committee had been set up with members from both countries to deliberate on the matter and the report of their findings was being awaited.
“On this issue, I will like the government and people of Cameroon to keep their minds at peace. We are an internationally respectful and law abiding nation. “Somehow, there was crisis between the two nations on Bakassi Peninsula over the hydrocarbon exploitation. This issue is being dealt with by the International Court of Justice. “The technical part of the extent of international interest forms the second part of your question. On maritime resources, there is a committee of experts, comprising Cameroon and Nigeria sides. “I cannot fully answer that question until after the results of this committee report gets to us and when they submit the report, I expect that with a few of us that are still around, we shall sit together and see what is the best way for the two countries. So, feel secured and be at peace.”
According to Vanguard, Paul Biya denied the claims that Cameroon was a safe haven for terrorists stating that the allegation was unfounded while reiterating the commitment of his country to ending the insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin. Both countries agreed to transfer arrested members of Boko Haram back to their countries of origin to face trial, in line with international best practices.
“Yes, I have heard of this information. I heard it in New York during conferences that Cameroon serves as base for Boko Haram but what can Cameroon benefit from that? “Is it the ideologies? Are we going to benefit from finances? No. It was just bad press. Cameroon remains focused and committed to the fight against Boko Haram.”
According to Vanguard, President Buhari at a dinner and cultural night organized in honour of the visiting President of Cameroon and his wife, Chantal, at the Presidential Villa, Tuesday night which had the Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Chief Justice of the Federation, Mahmud Muktar, and top private sector and government functionaries from Cameroon in attendance, appreciated the Cameroonian government for giving protection to over 56,000 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, from Nigeria since July 2014. He also thanked the United Nations and other international donor agencies for the various forms of assistance to IDPs across the country while offering condolences to the families who have fallen victim to Boko Haram’s attack.
“Our special condolences go to families of our fallen heroes who had sacrificed their lives to safeguard our territorial integrity and provide security of lives and property of our people “Permit me to use this occasion of your excellency’s visit to Nigeria to once again extend my personal gratitude and that of the Federal Government for your country’s hosting of over 65,000 Nigerian refugees since July 2014.
“We also appreciate the assistance of United Nations System, international donors, local and international non-governmental organisations and the ordinary Cameroonian families who share their meagre provisions with the refugees in the spirit of African brotherhood. We thank them all,” he said.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, who Read the communique before signing the document on behalf of the Nigerian government, alongside his Cameroonian counterpart, Mbela Mbela, said both countries also agreed that the tripartite meeting of the two countries and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, should be convened by July 2016.
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