Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Nigeria, Cameroon request international funding to finalise border demarcation

The governments of Cameroon and Nigeria have requested international assistance to fund the final demarcation of their border.

The border demarcation has been overseen by the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission since 2002 after a ruling by the International Court of Justice which ended years of sporadic clashes over the poorly marked border.

The ICJ ruling gave ownership of the Bakassi Peninsula, the focal point of much of the tension and a potentially rich source of oil, from Nigeria to Cameroon. The ruling was based on myriad colonial-era documents, including correspondence between British and German colonists and treaties between the imperial powers and local rulers. Nigeria protested the ruling but eventually began a two-year phased withdrawal in 2006.

The two sides made their request for further international funding at a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. Ban called the meeting, with Cameroon's Deputy Justice Minister Maurice Kamto and Nigeria's Justice Minister Mohammed Bello Adoke, to push the sides towards a final demarcation of the border by 2012, the tenth anniversary of the ICJ ruling.

Considerable progress has been since 2002. Authority in Bakassi has been transferred from Nigeria to Cameroon; the maritime boundary has been agreed upon; and around 1700km of land border have been demarcated.

The two sides are now looking for the final funding for the border demarcation, and have also pledged to begin winding up the activities of the Mixed Commission.

Sources: AFP, UN News Center

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