At UN-backed meeting, Cameroon and Nigeria agree to expedite boundary demarcation process
|Special Representative Said Djinnit (centre) with representatives of Nigeria and Cameroon. UN Photo|
today a meeting over the demarcation of the boundary between the two
countries with a reaffirmation of their willingness to expedite the
process in relation to the land-based areas which remain to be
identified, according to the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).
Members of the so-called Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission had been
meeting in the Nigerian capital of Abuja – their thirtieth meeting so
far – on the implementation of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment regarding the demarcation of the boundary between the two neighbouring nations, UNOWA said in a news release.
In line with reaffirming their willingness to expedite the process for
the land-based boundary areas, the parties reviewed their work programme
so as to deploy a Joint Technical Team, composed of surveyors and
experts, to the field as early as February 2013. They also decided to
move forward with a pillar emplacement project.
The border had been the subject of intense and sometimes violent
disputes between the West African countries for decades until they
agreed to a UN-backed process to settle the matter.
The ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, resolved
the issue with a ruling on the land and maritime boundary between the
two countries in October 2002. The verdict was followed by the 2006
Greentree Agreement – signed under the auspices of former UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan – under which Nigeria recognized
Cameroonian sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula, one part of the
The head of UNOWA, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for
West Africa, Said Djinnit, serves as the chairman of the Commission,
which was established in November 2002 by the United Nations – at the
request of Presidents Paul Biya and Olusegun Obasanjo of Cameroon and
Nigeria, respectively – with the goal of facilitating the implementation
of the ICJ ruling.
To date, more than 1,845 kilometres out of a total boundary distance
believed to exceed 2,000 kilometres have been located on the ground by
the Joint Technical Team.
The demarcation of the land boundary is the third component of the
mandate of the Commission, UNOWA noted. The two countries agreed on the
delimitation of the maritime border in 2007, and the withdrawal and
transfer of authority in the Lake Chad area, along the land border and
in Bakassi Peninsula, was finalized 2008.
The meeting in Abuja also stressed the importance of the fourth
component of the mandate, which is addressing the needs of the
population affected by the demarcation through confidence-building
initiatives and cross border socio-economic projects.
“Addressing the needs of the affected populations is key, as this will
not only to give a human dimension to the technical and political
processes of the demarcation, but also to bridge the communities
together across border in lasting peace,” said Mr. Djinnit.
He also congratulated Cameroon and Nigeria and their respective leaders,
President Paul Biya and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for their
“unwavering commitment” to the peaceful implementation of the ICJ
judgment, UNOWA added.
Attending the gathering, the world body’s Resident Coordinators in
Cameroon and Nigeria demonstrated progress in the development of joint
program proposals on poverty reduction for the benefit of the people.
UNOWA said these include projects in infrastructure, food security,
energy and environment, as well as education and capacity building for
employment. It added that these will be implemented by UN agencies in
collaboration with the two Governments, in addition to existing national
programs. Donors will be approached to raise the necessary funds.
Established in 1945 under the UN Charter, the ICJ – sometimes referred
to as the World Court – settles legal disputes between States and gives
advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by
authorized UN organs or specialized agencies.
Source: UN News Centre
”The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said”. ALISON.