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Ban hails upcoming Nigeria-Cameroon transfer of peninsula as ‘landmark event’

Ban hails upcoming Nigeria-Cameroon transfer of peninsula as ‘landmark event’

Next week’s final transfer of authority from Nigeria to Cameroon of a once disputed peninsula will be “a landmark event” for the United Nations, which shepherded the peaceful negotiation process between the two countries, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

Mr. Ban is following the preparations for the final transfer of the Bakassi Peninsula, slated to take place on 14 August, “with interest and anticipation,” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.

The transfer of authority will implement both the 2002 ruling on the matter by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the 2006 Greentree Agreement between the two countries that emerged after a mediation process led by the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, which was set up by the UN.

“In his capacity as Facilitator of that Agreement, the Secretary-General intends to send a senior official to lead his delegation at the transfer ceremony,” the statement noted.

Under the agreement, Nigeria recognized Cameroonian sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula, an oil-rich region on the Gulf of Guinea that had been the subject of intense and sometimes violent disputes between the African neighbours for decades.

Today’s statement described the upcoming ceremony as a landmark event for the UN, “culminating in the peaceful resolution of a potentially dangerous boundary dispute through respect for international law and good-neighbourly cooperation. It is an example that should serve as a model for the negotiated settlement of border disputes elsewhere.”