A REFUTATION–“GIWA TO BUHARI: RESETTLE AND REHABILITATE MY PEOPLE”
Our attention has been drawn to the Press Release issued by Hon. Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, and addressed to President Buhari, after his recent trip to the Cameroon Republic titled: “Giwa to Buhari: Resettle and Rehabilitate My People”, published in ThisDay Online Newspapers of July 31, 2015. http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/ita-giwa-to-buhari-resettle-and-rehabilitate-my-people/216148/
WE the undersigned Efik People, wish to respectfully dissociate ourselves from the part of her statement that reads: “She urged Buhari to employ a political solution to the loss of oil well that has really affected the economic fortune of Cross River State.” While acknowledging the truth of the effect of loss of oil fields to the economic fortunes of Cross River State, we frown at her solution to the problem.
WE assert that such a statement betrays her shallow understanding of the geopolitical implications of seeking a political solution, thereby conferring perpetual legal status on a manifest fraud. Much as we mourn the loss of oil revenue to Cross River State, we are not convinced that the judgment of the Nigerian Supreme Court entered on the 10th day of July 2012 in Suit No:. SC. 250/2009 meets the smell test. That judgment was anchored on an untruth – that the Nigerian/ Cameroonian border demarcation exercise as agreed to in the GreenTree Agreement had been completed. That Court held:
“The plaintiff’s stand and argument failed to face the realities of the moment and the position of affairs after the loss of Bakassi Peninsula and the Cross River estuary to Cameroon after the final implementation of the ICJ Judgment in August 2008”.
The Cameroon Republic if we may recall, never laid claim to the Cross River Estuary! Counterpoise the above ratio decidendi, with the Joint Declaration made by Presidents Buhari and Biya, after their historic meeting at Yaounde, in the Cameroon Republic on July 26, 2015, as reported by the reputable Daily Trust of July 31, 2015. “In a joint communiqué issued earlier, both leaders agreed to work towards the completion of the demarcation of the land border between Nigeria and Cameroon before the end of the year.” http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/daily/index.php/top-stories/61408-biya-dark-clouds-over-nigeria-cameroon
WE keep asking, when was the maritime boundary between the Cameroon Republic and Nigeria completed, and was there any dispute as to the ownership of the Cross River Estuary – a 12 mile body of water washing directly on the shores of Cross River State, before the World Court? If the Cross River oil fields were located in the Cameroon Republic, how come Akwa Ibom State ended up being the owner? Is Akwa Ibom State now part of the Cameroon Republic? Has there or would there be any demarcation exercise land or maritime between Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria and any part of the Cameroon Republic? We hold forth the belief that sooner than later the maritime boundary exercise would be completed, and the Nigerian Supreme Court would wipe away this odoriferous stain on its integrity.
WE believe that being a signatory or witness to the GreenTree Accord and a constant campaigner on Bakassi issues, Senator Giwa is aware or should know that the maritime boundary demarcation exercise agreed to in the GreenTree Agreement, which is the instrument by which the “final implementation of the ICJ Judgment of August 2008” can be completed, is yet to take place. Thus, the need for a political solution is superfluous. Is Senator Giwa not aware that seeking a political solution to a live legal matter automatically confers landlocked status upon Cross River State? Where would her beloved Bakassi refugees go to fish, if they are landlocked? And most importantly, where is her oilfield earned during the Bakassi struggles located, in the Cameroon Republic, Cross River State or Akwa Ibom State territory?
On the Bakassi refugee rehabilitation issue, WE wish to remind Senator Giwa that she sat as the vice-chairman of a duly constituted government panel. The outcome of the Cobham Panel was the production of a document that holistically apprised the refugee issue which was submitted to and accepted by the Federal Government of Nigeria. WE ask whether she no longer believe in the content of the document, and why is she not pushing for its full implementation?
WE respectfully call President Buhari’s attention to the fact that WE have noted with concern the alacrity in which he dispatched Nigeria’s jet planes to bomb the Calabar Creeks, but the dual problem Cross River State faces in terms of immediate need, as it concerns people who are living in camps whether internally displaced or refugees, have been totally ignored. Cross River State has endured the Ikot Offiong Internally Displaced Persons living in temporary camps at Ikot Ekpo, near Calabar, long before Bakassi and Boko Haram. The people of Ikot Offiong have been living in refugee camps for over 15 years and WE ask that attempts be made to resettle them, or is it because they were displaced due to the activities of citizens of a neigbouring Nigerian State, they do not deserve succor?
WE ask that he intercedes on behalf of our people who fish in the waters of the Cross River Estuary between the Cameroon Republic and Cross River State of Nigeria to be granted freedom of movement between the two countries which they have had throughout the centuries, to enable them earn a living and stop their incessant harassment by the Cameroonian authorities. WE implore him to liaise with his Cameroonian counterpart to implement all aspects of the GreenTree Agreement, including the establishment of infrastructure and trust building instruments within the locality as stipulated in that document.
Finally, WE have been fed spurious sop and sophistry by Bakassi campaigners for too long; WE pray that everyone would reflect on the need to bring closure to this issue.
Dated this day of August 23, 2015