Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker, House of Representatives
The House of Representatives has commenced investigation into various cases of sexual abuse, organised killings and disruption of commercial activities, which it said the people of Bakassi brought against the government and people of Cameroun following the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Chairman of the House Committee on Treaties and Agreements, Hon. Ekundayo Bush-Alebiosu, Monday disclosed the plan to investigate violations of Bakassi people’s rights, which he said, were alleged during the visit of the committee’s members to the area at the weekend.
The lawmaker, who is representing Kosofe Federal Constituency of Lagos State in the National Assembly, acknowledged the plight of Bakassi people, who he said the Federal Government had neglected since the implementation of the ICJ ruling, which ceded the area to Cameroun.
He also explained that the visit of the committee to Bakassi revealed the true state of what the people in the area “have been going through at various times since October 2002 when the judgment was delivered at The Hague.
“Bakassi accused Cameroun of raping their young ladies and women, invading and killing their people for no just reason and disrupting their commercial and economic activities, thereby making life difficult and unbearable for them. We cannot fold our hands and do nothing.”
He acknowledged that the committee had directed the authorities and the people of Bakassi to comply and submit comprehensive petitions on various alleged violations of human rights, which they brought against the country and that the House would commence probe into the allegation immediately.
He said the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties and Agreements was inaugurated by the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal as a direct response “to ensure that all treaties, agreements and conventions entered into on behalf of Nigeria are in the best interest of our people.
“Our responsibility includes looking into compliance with Green Tree Agreement (GTA) into which the Governments of Nigeria and Cameroun entered to ensure proper implementation of the ICJ judgment. We are bound to investigate whether the two countries have been duly observing the agreement.
“We are investigating the level of compliance with the agreement by the parties. We will also look into allegations of human rights violation, which the Bakassi people have brought against Cameroun. We cannot leave these people alone. We must as a country come to their rescue in the context of the agreement.”
During the visit last week, the lawmaker said it afforded them the opportunity to get first-hand information on Bakassi issue instead of relying on hear-say which may affect the task of ensuring that the agreement, which Nigeria entered into with Cameroun, and to ensure that the agreement is indeed beneficial to the people of the region.
He said with the facts already gathered, the committee would be in a position to make strong recommendations to the House of Representatives on the matter when it resumes from its recess in September.
He pointed out that the committee “is out to ensure that all treaties and agreements which Nigeria entered into are beneficial to the country and her people, saying the committee is now well informed on the situation on ground in Bakassi after its meetings with various stakeholders including the state governor, Liyel Imoke, the traditional institutions as well as other critical stakeholders in the area.
A member of the committee, Hon. Hon. Ifeoluwa Arowosoge, in his remarks, said the current leadership of the House is concerned about ensuring that Nigerians are not short-changed in all these treaties and agreements.
He gave reasons why the committee embarked on the fact-finding visit to the area and promised Cross River State that the committee will be on the part of the law for the sovereignty of the country.