A UN special representative said on Friday that efforts are being made to demarcate the disputed Cameroon-Nigeria maritime border over the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula peacefully.
“Good work” has been done for more than 20 years, and both countries are committed to bringing the process to a peaceful conclusion, Leonardo Santos Simao, the new special representative of the secretary-general and head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), told reporters in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde after briefing Cameroonian Prime Minister Joseph Ngute.
“I think it is a very good spirit to find a peaceful solution. There is potential to find a peaceful solution and an agreed solution to the remaining obstacles. I also express my commitment and my availability to work with the two countries to conclude the process,” said Simao, who is also the chairperson of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission (CNMC).
According to the UNOWAS, the CNMC aims to facilitate the implementation of the October 2002 judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Cameroon-Nigeria boundary dispute.
Both countries claimed ownership of the more than 2,000-km maritime border over the oil- and fish-rich Bakassi Peninsula, which is located on the Gulf of Guinea. The situation escalated into a military confrontation in 1993. In 2002, the ICJ court gave sovereignty over the peninsula to Cameroon. Since then, the Cameroonian and Nigerian governments have undergone tense negotiations over the control of the peninsula.
Boundary demarcation is the last step in the UN-backed process to end border tensions between Cameroon and Nigeria