News / Africa

    End of Cameroon-Nigeria Boundary Dispute in Sight

    Experts say the outcome of the border dispute is a model for the world.

    Soldiers hoist Cameroonian flag following the handover of Bakassi by Nigeria
    Soldiers hoist Cameroonian flag following the handover of Bakassi by Nigeria

    Some 3,000 pillars are being planted to demarcate the border between Cameroon and Nigeria.  The U.N.-sponsored project will end next year.

    The representative of the U.N. Secretary General for West Africa and chairman of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission Said Djinnit is overseeing the project.  He says the placement of the markers is a significant milestone in achieving lasting peace between the neighbors.

    According Djinnit it’s a border which is meant to bring people together, not to separate them.  He says it gives people an opportunity to work freely within a context of clear borders that will prevent further disputes so that all the energies, resources of the two countries [are] channeled towards addressing the real socioeconomic problems of the people.

    The $12 million (U.S.) needed for the pillars comes from a U.N. Trust Fund.  Cameroon and Nigeria are each contributing three million U.S. dollars, with Britain and the European Commission providing the rest. 

    Technical experts are using motorbikes and canoes and are trekking over mountains and through thick forests to trace the over 2000-km boundary from Lake Chad to the Gulf of Guinea.  They say the undertaking is tedious but are optimistic their work will end next year.

    Cameroon-Nigeria Boundary
    Cameroon-Nigeria Boundary

    The boundary demarcation is the last step in the U.N.-backed process to end border tension between Cameroon and Nigeria. Much of it centered on the ownership of the oil- and fish-rich Bakassi peninsula that juts into the Gulf of Guinea.  The situation escalated into military confrontation in 1993, when Nigerian troops invaded and occupied it.

    A year later, Cameroon asked the International Court of Justice to arbitrate. In 2002, the court gave sovereignty over Bakassi to Cameroon.  Villages straddling the border were to be shared between both countries, but Nigeria initially rejected the verdict. 

    The U.N. intervened, urging both countries to respect the ruling.  It set up the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission to follow up on implementation of the judgment. But progress remained slow.  

    In 2006, Koffi Annan summoned President Paul Biya of Cameroon and his then Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun Obasanjo, to a summit at Greentree in New York, where Nigeria agreed to respect the World Court verdict. 

    The Mixed Commission was charged with speeding up the land and maritime boundary demarcation. The agreement also reiterated the demilitarization of occupied territories and the transfer of administrative authority, protection of the rights of affected populations and promotion of joint economic ventures and cross-border cooperation.

    Experts say the process is a model of preventive diplomacy and a new approach for peaceful settlement of border disputes.

    Donors are also encouraging both to pursue cross-border cooperation in oil, gas and palm oil production.  The African Development Bank is providing $155 million (U.S.)  for the construction of a multinational highway to boost trade between the neighbors, and trade fairs are being organized, alternating between Cameroon and Nigeria.

    The military forces of the two countries are holding joint training, and they are considering joint patrols in the Gulf of Guinea to discourage piracy.

    Saddig Marafat Diggi who led a Nigerian delegation to a recent session of the Mixed Commission in Cameroon’s capital, Yaound, salutes the progress being made.

    Diggi says, “I’m going home as a happy man -- happy in the sense that Cameroon has now agreed that [it’s] going to sign the document on confidence-building. That’s the one concerning the [proposed highway]. I’m also going home to sensitize our local population concerning the pillar construction to tell them that the demarcation is not meant to divide us. It’s just a necessity so that we can know [where Cameroon ends and Nigeria begins].”

    However, Nigerians doing business across the border still complain of harassment and extortion at the hands of Cameroonian gendarmes.  In Bakassi, the predominantly Nigerian population says its rights are not being fully protected.

    But the Cameroon government is taking measures to address those concerns, beginning with the sacking of several corrupt law enforcement officers.

     

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora