Ex-ICJ Judge Ajibola Kbe
Prince Bolasodun Adesumbo Ajibola KBE ,
Who is one of only three Nigerians to have served at the international Court of Justice , has said Nigeria has a lot to be thankful for in that case between Nigeria and Cameroon despite losing Bakassi to its neighbour Cameroon.
The matter was in that court for eight years, and at the end, the court ruled on October 10, 2002 that Bakassi belonged to Cameroon, relying on evidence available, especially the Anglo-German agreement. This decision did not go down well with Nigeria, prompting the United Nations to set up the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission.
In an interview published by The Punch 30th of October, 2016, the former Attorney General of Nigeria added that His country if wish, can apply to the ICJ to review or explain the judgement.
“There were reports that Cameroon had already procured some weapons to use in engaging Nigeria,not only from Russia. Precisely what is now going on in Syria is exactly the situation we would have been in here, all along, and perhaps till now.”
“Because not only Russia, China, France and Malaysia were with Cameroon, some other countries were standing in-between, watching when the whole matter would start. In fact, when we got to America, I went to Washington on this matter and the authorities in America at that time were really astounded that the war had not started, and they told me that the war would soon start in that place. That was it. We tried our best to prevent the war from happening and it did not happen. It would not have been a war between ourselves; it would have been a war between Nigeria, on one side, and Cameroon, China, Malaysia, France and Russia on the other side. Where would Nigeria have been? We would have been exactly another Syria. We would have been ruined. But with the commission that was set up, that did not happen. This country was saved from total war, an annihilating war, a kind of Armageddon, a kind of endless war that would have engulfed everybody here because the nations that would have fought the war were there waiting. They have done it with the spring wars. They went to Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, and now they are dealing death and destruction on Syria. Their motive is simple, to destroy and obliterate the whole of these nations, all in the North and all Islamic nations and testing their new weapons just to ensure absolute destruction. So, we were able to prevent that” ,the former Judge of the International Court of Justice from 1991 to 1994 said.
On whether the judgement can be appealed or not, the Ex-Minister of Justice of Nigeria from 1985 to 1991 said.
“There is no room for appeal at the International Court of Justice. What is given is given and cannot be undone. You may ask the court to explain the judgement it already gave. That is how definite the judgement of the court is. They don’t sit on appeal on their matter; it is never allowed. They could review or explain, but they will never set up an appellate body to decide again what has already been decided, and whatever judgement had already been given is final and binding. That judgement that was given on October 10, 2002 is final and there is nothing we can do about it.”
For Ajibola ,”the Judgement was given at the International Court of Justice against Nigeria’s holding on to Bakassi but the judgement of the World Court was generally in Nigeria’s favour, except of course the matter of Bakassi. But Bakassi was not the only matter Cameroon brought before the court against Nigeria.”
“There were about six major issues brought to the court by Cameroon, including criminal offence; that Nigeria unjustifiably took over its land. That was defeated, I mean Nigeria won.Again, they fought us on some land inside Nigeria which they had seized and occupied in the eastern part,which we got back. Also, there was the very toughly contested issue of maritime boundary in which they tried to acquire a large portion of southern Nigeria into Cameroon, but they also failed in that because we really fought that seriously and we won that too and the land was retrieved from them.”
“So, as a matter of fact, we gained because they lost most of these matters; four out of five, but the issue of Bakassi was a different kettle of fish. In Bakassi, there are still the remnants of Cameroonians staying there and part of that area was at that time occupied by Nigerians. So, Cameroon was still in possession and that also explains why those in that part of Nigeria still have some representations in some quarters, due to the strip of land that is within Nigeria. There is no problem about that and Cameroon is not even claiming that. It is what Nigeria calls its own Bakassi.”
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