Bakassi People and Their Land, Bakassi Peninsula.
A BAF position statement on the matter
"...We recommend that our Bakassi people seek a plebiscite with the United Nations. A plebiscite is a universally well-recognized binding legal arbitration mechanism used to settle border disputes, relying on the voice and choice of the people affected. It has happened in the past, even here at the Nigeria-Biafra-Cameroon border. We shall show the world that our people, Bakassi people, were not heard nor represented at the IC [International Court]; that the IC chose to sustain and maintain all that is legally and morally wrong with colonial mentality, in its recent ruling...
" We urge the Bakassi people, our people, to opt for an AUTONOMOUS structure outside of Nigeria and outside of Cameroon, as the first choice, in the plebiscite process. Only as a last resort should they ask to re-join Nigeria ; and even so, it should be with the knowledge and understanding that sooner or later, Biafra actualization and formalization shall liberate us all from the colonialism practiced and imposed on us by Nigeria...
"...We want the world to know that the humanity that inhabits the Bakassi Peninsula is human, and was not consulted and was not even considered in the human enterprise of the legal business of the IC..."
This week, we shall visit the Bakassi people’s issue. Notice that we used the term, “Bakassi people,” and not the Bakassi Peninsula .” We do so because this is about a people primarily, and their humanity shall not be ignored. Because of the fact that these our brothers and sisters are human beings first and foremost, and the focus should be first and foremost on their humanity. Because the only meaningful impact of the situation therein, can only be measured in terms of the people—the Bakassi people, our brothers and sisters—not on fishing resources or oil resources. This is about our people, Bakassi people, our fellow Biafrans.
First and foremost, Bakassi people are Biafrans. Like all peoples of Biafra , we had sovereign kingdoms and nations prior to the advent of the European colonialists. We were self-governing before the imposition of colonial rule. We were our own great nations before these colonialists drew boundaries of countries on paper and thereby, forced these different nations together without the latters’ consent, and without any regard for our uniqueness as individual nationalities. This is how the country known as Nigeria was born, same as Cameroon , and how we came to find ourselves lumped together with an evil country-structure known as Nigeria . This is the origin of all our problems today. Herein lies the key to our return to the way we were, the way we are, and the way we should always be: the Nation of Biafra enjoying its natural sovereignty, independent of and different from Nigeria . The key is the understanding of how we got where we are today: how it all started on the wrong foot.
When the International Court (IC) ruled recently that the Bakassi Peninsula belongs to Cameroon , the judges relied mostly on treaties signed in circa 1913 between Britain , France and Germany quartering and dividing this region—just like the rest—of Africa . To note: nowhere in the circumstances and event of these treaties does it mention the representation or consent of the indigenous nations, who along with their land and resources, were being traded like mere property by these colonialists.
Like the treaties that predate the court but which nevertheless informed them, the IC judges also ignored the people living on the Bakassi Peninsula . Nobody bothered to ask the people what they felt, and what they thought, and what is right by them and for them. The Bakassi people were non-existent as far as the IC was concerned; only the land on which they live and physical resources contained therein mattered to the IC judges. And even then, the IC could not find the justice and wisdom to give the land back to the people to which it naturally belongs, the Bakassi. This is natural law and common sense.
So here we are in the 21st Century, and the IC would apply and impose the odious, stinky and immoral colonial rules on us again. Does the IC not realize that these rules were self-serving rules that enabled the colonialists to rape and ravage Africa , the results of which are only too evident today? Besides the exploitative and blood-sucking quality of these rules, the fact that they were made without consulting those whom the rules would impact on the most—and the impact was uniformly devastating to Africans—should have been obvious. It should have set off an alarm of conscience in the IC. We can logically accuse the IC of practicing colonialism in 2002; the Bakassi people—our people—are the direct losers and the victimized this time around. We can safely conclude that the IC is extending colonialism to the beginning of the 21st century—what a shame!
And what role has Nigeria been playing in all this? It is interesting that some Nigerians are now trying to place the blame on Biafra after this IC ruling. Never mind that it was that inept airhead called Gowon who promised or signed away the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon when he was the Military (mis)ruler of Nigeria . Never mind that it was the Nigerian legal team that presented a lame and losing argument to the IC—a typical performance pattern for Nigeria ever since she adopted the Nigerian Federal / national policy of keeping Biafrans out of meaningful positions in that country. What can you expect when the capable, the able, the willing and the knowledgeable are deliberately kept out of the action? Poor Ejoor: he is only interested in defending his inept master, Gowon, while falsely blaming Biafra for what is happening now.
Did you hear General Obasanjo’s first reaction to the IC ruling? He said something to the effect that, “not to worry, the ruling did not affect Nigeria ’s Oil-producing capacity.” Yes—that’s his first and truly genuine reaction. No, his first concern was not the people. No, his next concern was not the people. The people weren’t his last concern either. In fact, he had no concern at all for the people affected by this ruling. General Obasanjo is only concerned about the Oil. So is the rest of Nigeria outside of Biafra —the constituency that the General represents.
Here again, we present the obvious irony. What do you call an institution that reaps where it did not sow? An institution that comes from another place and grabs the resources of another nation by sheer force, and keeps the revenues to herself? An institution which does not care about the welfare of the people who remain victimized and traumatized by the calculated policy of such an institution? You call such an institution a colonial master. This is what Nigeria is today (and has always been) to Biafra . Nigeria is practicing colonialism, and the victim is Biafra . This has come to such a sharp and clear focus with the case of the Bakassi people, our (Biafran) people. General Obasanjo is continuing the work started by the arch-colonialist, England ’s Luggard; General Obasanjo is performing for Nigeria the function which Luggard performed for Britain . And Biafra is the victim.
Can we predict how Nigeria will react to the Bakassi people’s issue and the IC ruling? Of course! The first thing Nigeria usually does is to blame Biafra . Well, Nigeria did that—thanks to Ejoor for formalizing this prediction-now-become-fact. The next step for Nigeria is to determine how this will affect oil revenues accruing to (not really accruing, but to be stolen by) Nigeria . General Obasanjo himself already proved this prediction with his earlier statement. Now what is Nigeria ’s next step, after first blaming Biafra , and then ascertaining that the oil revenues to Nigeria will not be affected? Ask yourself: What does Nigeria do best? Punish Biafra , of course! So, we expect Nigeria to make moves calculated to hurt Bakassi-Biafrans.
What can those moves be? Well, don’t be surprised if Nigeria negotiates away the fishing rights of the Bakassi people. Do not be surprised if General Obasanjo and the Northern cabal give away the oil resources of Bakassi to Cameroon—not in return for anything—just to spite Biafra, really; and to deny Biafra any future benefit from that which naturally belongs to Biafra.
If Nigeria thinks that going to war with Cameroon would hurt Biafra , Nigeria would engage Cameroon in war today. This would give Nigeria an opportunity to amass troops and equipment on Biafran territory, with which to intimidate Biafrans. Then with no reason at all or at the slightest excuse, Nigeria would use this force against Biafra —not against Cameroon .
By the same token, Nigeria figures that Bakassi is Biafra . Why risk any Nigerian lives for a region which belongs to Biafra , seeing that sooner or later, Biafra shall be independent of Nigeria ? It would suit Nigeria ’s purposes all too well if she could arm Biafrans and send Biafrans to fight for Bakassi and perish, against Cameroon . Nigeria loves nothing more than to see Biafra suffer and be destroyed. On the other hand, Nigeria is afraid that armed Biafrans will use their arsenal against their only true enemy, and that enemy happens not to be Cameroon .
Nigeria ’s agenda in this issue is simple: Hurt Bakassi-Biafra as much as possible. If Nigerian can keep the oil revenues, the people of Bakassi are expendable and can be negotiated away by Nigeria . If Nigeria cannot keep the oil, then Nigeria will negotiate it away to Cameroon so that Bakassi-Biafra could never benefit from it in the future. If war with Cameroon can destroy Biafra , go; if it will help Biafra now or in the future, don’t go—that’s Nigeria ’s motto. We know Nigeria all too well!
We shall not wait for Nigeria to come to the aid of the Bakassi people. We recommend that our Bakassi people seek a plebiscite with the United Nations. A plebiscite is a universally well-recognized binding legal arbitration mechanism used to settle border disputes, relying on the voice and choice of the people affected. It has happened in the past, even here at the Nigeria-Biafra-Cameroon border. We shall show the world that our people, Bakassi people, were not heard nor represented at the IC; that the IC chose to sustain and maintain all that is legally and morally wrong with colonial mentality, in its recent ruling. We know that Nigeria is incapable of delivering sound legal arguments: we do not have to show the world this. We want the world to know that the humanity that inhabits the Bakassi Peninsula is human, and was not consulted and was not even considered in the human enterprise of the legal business of the IC.
We urge the Bakassi people, our people, to opt for an AUTONOMOUS structure outside of Nigeria and outside of Cameroon, as the first choice, in the plebiscite process. Only as a last resort should they ask to re-join Nigeria ; and even so, it should be with the knowledge and understanding that sooner or later, Biafra actualization and formalization shall liberate us all from the colonialism practiced and imposed on us by Nigeria .
Our prayers are with you, our people, the Bakassi people, fellow-Biafrans.
Biafra shall be; Biafra is!