Teddy Oscar, Abuja
Cameroon looks to achieve a double over Nigeria, as the ongoing boundary adjustment between the two nations could force Nigeria cede no fewer than eight local government areas to the Cameroon.
Nigeria had earlier lost the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to the Cameroon, following an International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment.
But a boundary adjustment by the United Nations could see the francophone country securing the local government areas, which also have a number of tourist attractions, including the popular Obudu Ranch Resort and Agbokim Waterfalls.
Senate leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, who raised the alarm on Wednesday, feared that the impending doom is one that would surely be, if nothing is done urgently to avert it.
Ndoma-Egba, who dropped the hint to journalists in Abuja, spoke against the backdrop of the alleged ongoing boundary adjustment between Nigeria and Cameroon by the United Nations as a result of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment that had earlier ceded the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to the Cameroon.
There has been tension in Cross River State over the presence of the United Nations Boundary Adjustment Team led by Mr. Isaac Baya of Zimbabwe in company of Nigerian soldiers at Danari in Boki Local Government Area, a boundary community between Nigeria and Cameroon to implement the Green Tree Agreement (GTA) from the Bakassi judgment.
Ndoma-Egba spoke on the allegation that Nigeria would possibly lose about eight local government areas to Cameroon in the process.
?Well there is some boundary delineation exercise going on as a result of the Green Tree Agreement, which was the consequence of the judgment of the International Court of Justice on what we call Bakassi. The Green Tree Agreement necessitated some boundary adjustments and that exercise started somewhere from lake Chad and it supposed to go right down to the Atlantic Ocean in the South, so the exercise is going on but in a place called Danari, in Boki Local Government in my constituency.
?The Anglo/German boundary of 1913 has been there and a particular beacon stone, beacon 113, we heard cannot been found, the rest has been found and that is the one they are trying to locate. The United Nations Team is insisting on taking a straight line, now the communities believe that beacon is somewhere furthering in the Cameroons.
?If they do a straight line as they want to do, then we will be losing some communities to the Cameroons, including the famous Agbokim Water Falls where Hon. John Enoh comes from. So, I am in touch with the Cross River State government and the community. We are looking at it so that I will bring a formal motion to the floor. You know I came under Order 42 the last time just to give notice about my intension to bring a motion.
?We are going to lose some substantial territory; that is what I can say. I am still getting brief on it. Now the good thing is, the boundary communities, we have Danari in Nigeria and we have Danari in Cameroon, Danari 1, Danari 2, they know their traditional boundaries, they know where there traditional boundaries are and they have had no problems with that.
?So we want to make a case for the UN Team to just accept the traditional boundaries that the two communities agreed on and let the sleeping dogs lie. what is even more worrisome is that few days ago, the team was there (Danari) with soldiers and we have been wondering where did these soldiers come from, without the chairman of the local government knowing without the state government knowing, what is actually going on,? he said.
He also spoke on the recent recommendation by the ongoing National Conference that Nigeria should practice part time legislation.
?Not in a presidential system of government, so how do you oversight the executive arm. The oversight will be part time oversight. Now I am told that their reason for that recommendation is to save cost, now the budget of the national assembly has remained at N150 billion in the last three years, the current budget of the federation is N4.6 trillion, by the time the SURE-P component is added, it is N4.96 trillion.
?What percent of that national budget is the budget of the national assembly? It is under three percent. So, even if you are to scrap the national assembly, you will only be saving three percent of the budget or less, is that the savings that you want to make? The OPEC fuel subsidy thing is in trillions, our pension regime that is unaccounted for is in trillions, is it the national assembly that is responsible for the fuel subsidy or the pension or the import waivers.
?So, if their argument is the cost, I think they have missed the point completely because all they have been saying is less than three percent, but more importantly, how will you get a part time legislature to oversight a full time executive in the presidential system. So, rather than part time, my own suggestion is they ought to have recommended that the national assembly should be scrapped,? he added.
He also gave reasons why the National Assembly, especially the present Senate has been having friendly relationship with the executive, stressing that the Senate the world over acts as a stabiliser of the polity in conflict situations.
?Can you be specific, can you mention one thing that we should have looked at that we didn?t look at? You must look at historical responsibilities of senate all over the World; the senate is designed from time immemorial to stabilise the polity in times of crisis that is the function of the Senate. The Senate is not supposed to descend to arena of conflict, we are supposed to stabilize the country when there is a conflict and if you recall the recent past, that has been the role of the senate and so if the expectation is that the senate must manufacture conflict, it is not part of the character of a senate to manufacture conflict,? he explained.