Boundary Dispute: House of Reps Halts Proposed Transfer of Adamawa Territory to Cameroon

The federal government has been urged to stop the demarcation exercise that would transfer Sina area in Michika local government area of Adamawa State to the Republic of Cameroon.

The call was made by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on International Boundary Dispute, which is investigating the persistent boundary conflicts along the Nigeria-Cameroon border, spanning from the Lake Chad region to the Cross River estuaries. The committee’s chairperson, Hon Beni Lar, issued the directive at a hearing on the matter.

Lar said, “We have to continue this engagement with the relevant community and the boundary commission and come up with a solution. Let us go on a fact-finding mission and then we will intervene. The communities have a right and their right must be considered.

“This demarcation exercise has to be put on hold until the disputes are resolved. It should be halted pending the resolution of this committee. We would visit Adamawa and come up with a comprehensive report.

“We will recall that we did the first phase of this similar for the DANARE-BIJUA AXIS of Cross River State and as a fall out of that, the Rt. Hon Speaker through a request by Hon. Dauda Nyampa included this Sina Area to the committee’s terms of reference.

“As usual, we are to interact on the aspects of the likely ceding of SINA to Cameroon thereafter we pay an ‘on the spot fact-finding visit’ to Adamawa, of which we have notified the Executive Governor.

“The second aspect of this interactive briefing, which is very critical and crucial is on the role of the military, the para-military and the security agencies towards safeguarding the borders & territorial integrity of Nigeria: this briefing is to leverage inputs from the guarantors of our National Security-the Army and the various Security Agencies because in the Committee’s last visit to Cross River state we discovered the lack of Security posts or barracks of any sort along our land borders whereas such is obtained across the Cameroon side of borders, hence, the necessity of this interactive session with our Security formations.”

The hearing had a representative from Sina Area, Adamu Kamale, as one of the attendees. The Solicitor General of the Federation, Beatrice Jedy-Agba, who stood in for the Attorney General, was also present, along with representatives of the security agencies.

Adamu Adaji, the Director-general of the National Boundary Commission, explained that the demarcation exercise followed a ruling of the International Court of Justice.

He also said that the sub-commission on demarcation had put up a total of 2, 214 pillars along the boundary between Nigeria and Cameroon.

“The Adamawa State sector of the boundary between Nigeria and Cameroon as decided by the International Court of Justice is based on treaties and agreements that had been entered into by colonial masters.

“The courts upheld these treaties and agreements and ruled that they be used to re-establish the boundary. It is not a new boundary. It is a boundary that has been existing and there are documents that show the fact these boundaries have existed. What the court ruled is that, ‘go and use this document to re-establish the boundary as it has always been recognized.”

The representative of Sina Area, Adamu Kamale, said the disputed area was a Nigerian territory and was never a settlement.

He said, “From Lake Chad to Bakassi, the ICJ ruled on several communities based on different criteria. The criteria used for Bakassi is not the same used for Michika local government. In our own case the ruling stated clearly that it is the watershed….and if watershed is to be used, it means any territory that is on the flank to left as you are coming from Lake Chad falls into Cameroon and any community to the right falls to Nigeria, because both countries had an agreement in the ruling.

“Cameroon’s position then was that the foot of the mountain was to be adopted as the border line. Nigeria averred that it must be the watershed and in that case Nigeria won. The court made a pronouncement on Nigerian submission that it is the watershed that should be used.”

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