Chris Steven, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said the Cameroonian government would have unhindered access to exploit hydrocarbon deposits in Bakassi Peninsula as soon as the joint technical committee on the Green Tree Agreement submits its report.
A technical committee, comprising experts from both countries are currently working to fine-tune some grey areas, bothering on identity, resettlement, compensation for loss of territory, oil exploration, development of Day Spring Island, socio-cultural differences, fishing right, amongst other issues before full implementation of resolutions spelt out by the International Court of Justice.
President Buhari at a joint press conference with Paul Biya,President of Cameroon,advised Cameroonian nationals not to lose sleep over Bakassi,saying the committee outcome would not put paid to the ICJ resolutions.
“On this Bakassi Peninsula issue, I will like the government and people of Cameroun to keep their minds at peace, in Nigeria, we are internationally respectful and abiding nation,somehow there was a crisis between the two nations on Bakassi Peninsula over the hydro carbon exploitation, this issue has been dealt with by the International Court of Justice.
“There is a technical committee of experts,comprising Cameroun and Nigeria sides, until this committee report gets to us and when they submit the report, I expect that with a few of us that are still around,we shall sit together and see what is the best way for the two countries,so feel secured and be at peace,”Buhari assured.
On the war against insurgency,the President said the Boko Haram sect wouldn’t have been this degraded,were it not for the assistance rendered by Cameroon through the joint border operations.
He said he would remain grateful to the Lake Chad Basin Commission which aided the Federal Government in no small measure to over-power the terrorists group.
Speaking at the event, the Cameroonian President denied allegations that he was at a point aiding the Boko Haram sect by harbouring them.
He described such information as media propaganda,noting that he wouldn’t have condescended so low to assist the terrorists,when it would not be of ideological or economic benefit to his country.
Biya said,”Yes, I have heard of this information,I heard it in New York during conferences, that Cameroon serves as base for Boko Haram, but what can Cameroon benefit from that?,is it the ideologies, are we going to benefit from finances? No it was just a bad press and Cameroon remains focused and committed to the fight against Boko Haram”.
Both Presidents lauded the successes recorded in degrading the Boko Haram sect while they condemned what they described as murderous activities perpetrated by the
“Nigerian and Cameroon military under the multinational joint task force, especially the two recent joint operations conducted in Ngoshe and Kumti, both within the Nigerian territory and the ongoing clearance operation
being carried out by military of the two countries to bring the activities of the terrorists to an end is highly commendable”.
Both Presidents agreed that the tripartite meeting of the two countries and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) be convened in July 2016, with a view to agreeing on a framework
for the safe return of Nigerian refugees currently hosted by Cameroon.
Earlier in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both countries,they pledged readiness to work together to harness investments potentials.
While President Buhari advised that agriculture was the only way to effectively diversify a mono-economy like Nigeria’s, both countries pledged to open up opportunities for their people.
Part of the MOU centres on modalities for the construction of a bridge over the Nile river that will link Belel in Nigeria and Damsan in Cameroon and related infrastructure along the Jabi Lamba Garuwa corridor.