Oil as a Motivating Factor to both Nigeria and Cameroon and the Escalation of the Bakassi Peninsula Conflict
1.1 Background of the Study
Fundamentally’ the Bakassi Penninsula crisis between Nigeria and Cameroon is a boundary conflict. According to Klare (2004),Nigeria-Cameroon relations has become that of cat dog relation, since the discovery of a large quantity of crude oil and some other natural resources in the Bakassi axis in the late 1960s. Since then, the two countries have trying to see who dominate each other in controlling the rich land and territorial waters.
The two countries have applied military, political and diplomatic means to resolve the problem, but all these measures that were applied proved abortive. Because of the unproductive nature of the measures applied by the two countries, Cameroon took the case seeking the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 29th March, 1994. (Omoigui, 2003).
Omoigui (2003) in his postulation, observed that the case was extremely complex and shrouded in historical and legal mysticism for even the ICJ, requiring the court to review the diplomatic exchanges between the two countries dating back to over 900 years. Nigeria centred wholly on Anglo- German correspondence tracing it back to 1885, as well as pacts between the colonial powers and indigenous rulers in the area, particularly the 1884 treaty of protection (the treaty between England and old Calabar in 1884). Cameroon, on the other hand pointed to Anglo- German treaty of 1913, which defined spheres of control in the region, notable also are two pacts entered into in the 1970s by the then Nigeria Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and Amadu Ahidjo of Cameroon. Inclusive were the Yaunde II declaration of 1971 and the Marous declaration of June 1975, which were put in place to stipulate maritime boundaries between Nigeria and Cameroon following their independence. The line was drawn through the Cross River estuary to the west of the peninsula, there by implying Cameroonian ownership over Bakassi.
On October 10, 2002, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) holding its sitting in Hague reached a decision that Cameroon would be offered the disputed land. Nigeria agreed to turn over Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon between July and September 2004.
Consequently, the judgment provoked consternation in Nigeria and give in to various comments from Nigerian Officials and the Nigerian media alike. In the opinion of Akinjide, (2002) the decision is 50% international law and 50% International politics, completely biased and unfair, a total disaster and a complete fraud.
To this extent, this research centers on the political economy of Nigeria-Cameroon Bakassi Peninsula border conflict, the economic interest of the super power countries over oil rich peninsula.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The Bakassi feud has its origin from the colonial period. Because of the fact that the various European countries were jostling for acquisition of territories in Africa during the period that is know in the history parlance as “scramble for Africa”, African territories were later partitioned amongst the various European countries because of their economic interest, without consultation of Africans. (George, 1997).
The Peninsula was not in contention until the post independence era when oil was discovered in the region in commercial quantity. This led to intense struggle by both countries, over who takes over the oil rich land. The external powers helped in fueling the crisis. The crux of this study is to critically examine the political economy of Nigeria-Cameroon Bakassi Peninsula conflict vis-a-vis the negative impact which he ceding has Nigerian economy.
This study focused on the examination of the political economy of the Nigeria-Cameroon border conflict over the Bakassi peninsula with special focus on how these interests shaped the conflict and the implications of the outcome on Nigerian economy.
The problem of this Study is further articulated in the following research questions;
(1) Did the presence of oil in the disputed Bakassi Peninsula fueled the escalation of the border conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon?
(2) Did the interests of Nigeria and Cameroon over the control of the rich water resources the Arab land of Bakassi fueled the escalation of the border conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon?
(3) Did the interest of the external powers in the oil rich peninsula help in promoting peaceful settlement of the border conflict?
(4) How did the ceding of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon impact on Nigeria’s economic development?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine the political economy of the border conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon.
The specific objectives of this study are:
(a) To determine whether the presence of oil in the disputed Bakassi Peninsula fueled the escalation of the border conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon.
(b) To determine whether the interests of Nigeria and Cameroon over the control of the rich water resources the Arab land of Bakassi fueled the escalation of the border conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon
(c) To ascertain whether the involvement of external powers help in promoting peaceful settlement of the border conflict
(d) To ascertain whether the ceding of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon has negative impacts on Nigerian economic development.
Hypothesis is a tentative answer to a question or puzzle which is subject to verification. The following hypotheses will be posited to guide this study
(1) The presence of oil in the disputed Bakassi Peninsula has significantly fuield the escalation of the border conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon.
(2) The conflicting interests of Nigerian and Cameroon have not in any way helped in fueling the escalation of the border conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon.
(3) The involvements of the external powers have not significantly helped in settling the Bakassi Peninsula border conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon.
(4) The ceding of the Bakassi peninsula by Nigeria to Cameroon can significantly impact on Nigeria’s economic development.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The work has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the findings and conclusion of this work will provoke debate that will eventually lead to theory building. Also the work will serve as a resource material to subsequent scholars and researchers on the subject matter.
Practically, this study will be of benefit to the government of Nigeria, as it will enable her to properly handle border conflicts in the spirit of African unity. The study will also be of importance to the government of Cameroon as it will create avenues for further peaceful settlement of conflict between her and Nigeria or other neighbouring countries.
Furthermore, this study will be of importance to United Nations as it will give them a guide to settling similar border conflicts.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The study centers on the political economy of the border conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon. 1967- 2002. The choice of this period was because it covers the time when oil was discovered in commercial quantity in the disputed land (Bakassi peninsula), the intense struggle for the ownership of the oil rich land and the various efforts made in resolving the conflict from the late 1960s, especially the treaties or agreements reached by both countries.
The researcher faced the problem of visiting the Nigeria Embassy to retrieve information on the archive of the Bakassi Peninsula dispute as the officials were so strict and unfriendly. Time was also another constraint since academic work of this nature usually has time frame.
1.7 Definition of Terms
BAKASSI PENINSULA: An area of land that is floating on reserves of crude oil, where a group of people known as Bakassians (Ambazonians) live without independence, but in the mist of two countries, Nigeria and Cameroon struggling for its ownership.
CONFLICT: a disagreement or violent demonstration arising generally from the incompatibility in the interest or goals pursued by different individuals, groups or states.
UNITED NATION- An international organization of countries set up in 1945 to promote international peace, security and cooperation.
PEACE- a relative condition of security friendly climate that
allows individuals and groups relations to progress in order
and stability not meaning absence of conflicts but reflects
security friendly system that annuls fears.
INTERNATIONAL LAW- Body of rules and regulations that
guide the conduct or the interactions of sovereign states. INTERNATIONAL POLITICS: Interplay of power between state and non state actors in their relations with each other.
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