Nigeria Hands Cameroon Formal Control of Bakassi Peninsula Under UN-Sponsored Deal
14 Aug 2006
A formal ceremony was held on the Bakassi Peninsula today to mark Nigeria's peaceful transfer of authority over the once-disputed region to Cameroon following a pact signed under United Nations auspices earlier this year.
Former UN Under-Secretary-General Kieran Prendergast, who serves as chairman of the follow-up committee for the implementation of the Greentree Agreement between Nigeria and Cameroon, attended the ceremony in Archibong Town, the capital of northern Bakassi, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
The defence chiefs of the African neighbours and Mr. Prendergast signed documents transferring authority before the Nigerian flag was lowered and the Cameroonian flag was hoisted in its place.
In his speech at the ceremony, Mr. Prendergast hailed the Greentree Agreement as a powerful example for conflict prevention for the whole world and praised both Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Cameroonian counterpart Paul Biya for their work to implement their commitments under the deal.
The accord - reached in June - was the culmination of the work of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, set up by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to peacefully resolve the Bakassi dispute.
Under the agreement, Nigeria's recognized Cameroon's sovereignty over the territory, in accordance with a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2002, and agreed to withdraw its forces and administration. Located on the Gulf of Guinea, the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula had been the subject of intense and sometimes violent disputes between the two countries for decades.