The Nigeria-Cameroun Mixed Commission, supervised by the United Nations, yesterday resumed the demarcation of the Nigerian border communities in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State in preparation for its final ceding to the Republic of Cameroun.
The communities being demarcated include Biajua and Danare located on the boundary line between Nigeria and Cameroun but the exercise took the natives by surprise as they were not informed, yet the commission came with heavily armed Nigerian troops who gave members cover and overwhelmed the youths who had mobilise for resistance.
Last year, the UN body carried out the first phase of the exercise but following stiff opposition by the youths of all the communities that the demarcation was running through, the surveyors, Cameroun government functionaries and UN officials had to abandon it for fear of hostilities. But the demarcation resumed yesterday to the chagrin of all. The presence of Nigerian soldiers to give the demarcation party cover indicated that the Nigerian government was aware and gave its tacit support hence the angry youths who came out to question their mission were warned to stay off.
There was no official of the Cross River State Government to witness the exercise but the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Attah Ochinke, when contacted, said government was in the know and can do nothing about it since it was in compliance with the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
He denied that the exercise was for ceding of border villages to either Nigeria or Cameroun.
Hear him: “The demarcation that is going on there is to re-establish that Anglo German boundary line which the World Court adopted as the boundary between Nigeria and Cameroun. It is not a new line and it is not cutting any territory of Nigeria into Cameroun. The action now is not demarcating any new territory but re-establishing a boundary line that has existed for over a hundred years.
“The communities there are expressing anxiety because these are communities that are virtually right on the boundary line. The communities both on the Nigerian and Cameroun side are actually one community one people and they have very little respect to the boundary line in the way they live their life.
“But of course the boundary line is something they have always known and since the boundary line is so close to the communities which they know both on the Nigeria and Cameroun side. That is the Danare and the Biajua communities. None of those communities are ignorant of where the boundary line is.
“What is causing their present anxiety is that there is one boundary pillar that they are looking for that has not been found. So the present exercise by NBC is for them to establish the location of this pillar which is pillar 113A. It has nothing to do with demarcating Nigerian territory to Cameroun or Cameroun territory to Nigeria.
“That is not the essence. But when boundary demarcation activities are taking place in communities that are virtually living on the boundary, you will know that every inch that you turn is bound to raise anxiety.
“If you are searching for a pillar and you don’t know where it is, you are bound to search in one direction into Cameroun and in one direction into Nigeria. So when the people carry out their search into one direction into Cameroun, of course the Cameroun villagers will begin to express anxiety.
“When they carry out their search into Nigeria, the Nigerian community will begin to express anxiety. What will settle all of this is if they can actually establish the location of the pillar 113A and then everybody will say okay this is the pillar.
“Now the anxiety in the communities is that the existence of pillar 113A is something they are not aware of and it is strange to them. We are all looking to establish where pillar 113A is. It is not that anybody wants to cede territory to Cameroun. Nigeria has not lost any new area to Cameroun. The boundary line which was established over a hundred years ago has not changed.
“This demarcation is being done by the Nigeria/Cameroun Mixed Commission under the auspices of the United Nations.’’