Posted by By Soni Daniel, Port Harcourt on
Aggrieved youths of Bakassi Peninsula on Sunday declared that the area had seceded from Nigeria barely a week to its planned handover to Cameroun by the Nigerian government.....
Aggrieved youths of Bakassi Peninsula on Sunday declared that the area had seceded from Nigeria barely a week to its planned handover to Cameroun by the Nigerian government.
The youths, drawn from Bakassi‘s 10 clans, said they would defy Nigeria and the United Nations on the proposed transfer of their land to another country.
A newly-designed flag was flown by the youths at the Ekpot Atai Square, one of the towns slated to be handed over to Cameroun.
Close to the flag, a white-and-blue striped material, with 10 stars representing the community‘s clans, was a signpost with the inscription, "Democratic Republic of Bakassi." The payoff on the signpost was, "God is Our Strength."
The aggrieved youths‘ declaration of a republic was witnessed by some Niger Delta militants, who gave their tacit support.
Mr. Tony Ene, a spokesman for the youths and former personal aide to the Cross Rivers State Governor, Mr. Donald Duke, said nothing under the sun would make them become slaves in Cameroun.
Ene, who declared himself the Interim Leader of the purported republic, argued that an alleged order by the UN that his people should vacate the peninsula was a violation of their fundamental rights.
He said the decision to secede was in line with Articles 1 and 55 of the UN Charter, adding that Bakassi people would take necessary steps to ensure the workability of the purported republic.
He also said, "The people of Bakassi shall henceforth exercise their right to freely appropriate the wealth and natural resources on their territory for the purpose of promoting the overall socio-economic status of the natives and those doing legitimate business within the area.
"The people of Bakassi, in striving towards international peace and security, will extend their hands of fellowship to states in the African Union and the international community and all men of goodwill to join hands with them in alleviating the poor human condition in the area.
"The declaration of self-determination is a collective right of the people and we are not willing to turn ourselves and our children yet unborn to permanent refugees in the state of Nigeria."
As the purported declaration was going on, some Nigerian soldiers left on the peninsula showed solidarity with the youths, who were singing, dancing and displaying the paraphernalia of the DRB.
Speaking with our correspondent, Ene vowed to spare no pain in ensuring that the people of Bakassi and their land were not handed over to Cameroun.
He added, "I cannot at my age sit down and see my people being taken into slavery in this 21st century."
The spokesman alleged that political leaders in the state had disappointed the Bakassi people .
He said, "It is a big shame that, up till now, no government official has come to the area to see what is happening to the people. The politicians in the state only come here to canvass for votes."
Ene claimed that the purported republic had the required military and financial strength to sustain itself as soon as the Nigerian soldiers pulled out on Friday.
But, in his reaction, the Head of Abana clan, Etenyin Edet Okon, said he did not believe there was an order by the UN for the people of Bakassi to vacate the area.
On October 10, 2002, the International Court of Justice at The Hague had ruled that Bakassi belonged to Cameroun. Although Nigeria initially resisted the judgment, it later opted for a phased withdrawal of its military personnel.