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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid