President Goodluck Jonathan has explained why Nigeria did not seek a review of the International Court of Justice ruling on the ceding of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon, saying the country had no fresh evidence in the case.
Nigeria, he also said, did not proceed with the case in order to protect the interest of its nationals in Cameroon.
Speaking with the Nigerian community in Yaounde on Sunday on the sidelines of the summit of heads of states and governments of the Economic Community of Central African States, Economic Community of West African States and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, which started in Cameroon on Monday, Jonathan said his administration believed that as long as the dispute over the peninsula persisted, there would be continued animosity among the citizens of the two countries.
The 10-year window to seek a review of the judgment delivered on October 10, 2002 if there were fresh facts ended on October 9, 2012 without the Federal Government appealing the ruling.
The government’s decision disappointed a section of Nigerians, who had sought a review of the ICJ judgment.
Jonathan on Sunday, however, insisted that the decision was in the best interest of the country and its citizens.
“At a time, there was tension between Nigeria and the Cameroon and people reacted. When two countries are friends, their people also tend to be friends, but when they disagree, their citizens tend to disagree also.
“You all know what happened in Bakassi, there is no need to go back on why we could not appeal. We had no new evidence within the given period of time that will make a difference in the judgment.
“Our people should live a good and decent life in Cameroon. The forces of animosity are gradually dying down and the relationship is improving,” Jonathan said.
President Goodluck Jonathan also assured Nigerians in the peninsula of his administration’s continuous support for their safety and well-being.
A statement on Monday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, quoted the President as giving the assurance during a meeting he had with Nigerians in Yaounde on Sunday.
Abati said the President dispelled fears that the Federal Government had abandoned Nigerians, who remained in the peninsula after its transfer to Cameroon.