This is a peninsula and Local Government Area in the Gulf of Guinea, about 3,070 square km. It is inhabited easternly by Camerounians; westernly by Nigerians. Nigeria and Cameroun had lengthy ownership dispute over it until recently.
All official maps from colonial time, beginning about 1883-1914, to post-independence period between 1960 to 1993, located Bakassi and the surrounding villagres and islands in the Camerouns. Cameron was a German colonial territory turned French. A part of the south including Bakassi is English.
Historically, in Bakassi the more numerous Nigerians, mostly village fisher-folk, extended their presence in the area. This gave a vague ( and possessory) ownership of the area to Nigeria.
During the Nigerian Fratricide, commonly called Nigeria-Biafra war, the head of government, Mr. Gowon, pledged Bakassi to Ahidjo's Cameroun for aid against the Biafrans. Cameroun fulfiled her part of this "informal pact". This resulted in a fierce success of the Nigerian forces (battalions of which set some bases on Bakassi) against the Biafran forces.
Gowon partially formalized the pact, after the war, by what is called Marwa Declaration. But the Nigerians in Bakassi lived on, many of them paying taxes, by force, to Camerounian authorities. The problem smouldered on through the nineteen seventies. Negotiations and boundary commissions procured no definite results.
In 1981, Camerounian security agents aggressed their Nigerian counterparts in Bakassi. Some lives were lost. This led to partial militarization of the area: from Akwa Yafe river to Boro Camp. Skirmishes occasionally occurred.
During the regime of Mr. Abacha, Nigeria openly occupied Bakassi. Abacha himself gave it the status of LGA (local government area). But it was also then that they nigerianly messed the whole diplomacy and politics over Bakassi. Not by the occupation but by the droves of official and unofficial negotiators who wrangled among themselves for estacodes.
Cameroun prudently discerned that Nigeria had very weak case whatever her might. She took her to the International Court. By the ICJ's verdict, Camerounian state got back what had always been hers. Mr. Obasanjo started to implement that verdict. It culminated under Mr. Yarad on August 14, 2008. This is the GreenTree Agreement.
Nigerian governments complacently mis-informed their populace. So, many people combined the illusion, ignorance, mischievous patriotism, plus the thirst for the petroleum in Bakassi, in making a huge babel of the transference.
Many of the people of Bakassi would have, unconfusedly, become Camerounians. But some clever crooks among Nigerian executives and officials have calculated to use them as a ladle to spoon huge funds into their private bank accounts. That's why they induced the translocation of the population of west Bakassi. As of now, less than half of them (about 11000) are housed in schools. The rest are totally unrehabilitated.
Bakassi, from the past and by politics, belongs in the Camerouns
Tags: Bakassi , GreenTree
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