Nigeria will abide by the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Bakassi Peninsula, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Wednesday in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, where he is on a state visit to discuss Boko Haram insurgency with President Paul Biya.
Buhari, who spoke at an interactive session with Nigerians living in Cameroon, said his administration would ensure the “faithful implementation” of the Green Tree Agreement, which regulates the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon. “Since Nigeria allowed the case to go to court (ICJ), and we lost, we have to abide by it, ” Buhari said in response to a question from a Nigerian on the issue, according to a statement by his spokesman Femi Adesina.
Buhari arrived Cameroon amid tight sevurity with soldiers posted on rooftops of houses along the route from the airport to the presidential palace in Yaounde, while vehicles armed with machine-guns patrolled the streets and access to the hotel where Buhari will stay was blocked.
Buhari, who is on his maiden visit to the country after his inauguration on May 29, said his administration had yet to articulate a foreign policy for Nigeria beyond what was captured in the All Progressives Congress (APC) party’s manifesto.
“However,” he added, “we will make our embassies more efficient and improve our relations with other countries.”
The President urged Nigerians in Diaspora to be law abiding in their host countries and told representatives of the over 4 million Nigerians living in Cameroon to continue to live in peace and harmony with Cameroonians.
On the plight of some 40,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon, who were forced to flee their homes because of Boko Haram terrorists, the President said the Federal government would ensure their safe return and rehabilitation in the shortest possible time.
“We also have about 1.5 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria and we have a programme of rehabilitation and reintegration into the society for them, which involves providing shelter and schools to the displaced persons.’’
Responding to a question on the voting rights for Nigerians in Diaspora, the President promised that his administration would revisit the issue, which would require legislation from the National Assembly.Later in a prepared text read to the Nigerian community, the President pledged to do everything possible toward bringing positive change to Nigeria.
“Despite the numerous challenges confronting us, the future of our country is bright,” Buhari declared. “You all know very well that your fellow Nigerians are resilient, hardworking and patriotic. These qualities have always seen us through our most difficult national challenges and they will do so now.’’
On the fight against Boko Haram, the President assured Nigerians that the current security challenges are not insurmountable.He said Nigeria was working with all her neighbours, including Cameroon, to fight and stand firmly against all forms of terror and trans-border crimes.
He appealed for patience and vigilance from Nigerians to ensure that youths are not lured into joining “misguided groups.’’
“We are determined to end this callousness against our innocent citizens. The defence of the territorial integrity of Nigeria and the protection of lives and properties of Nigerians and all those who live in the country are our top priorities. We shall explore all reasonable options to enable us to bring this rebellion to an end,” he vowed.
President Buhari will depart Cameroon for Abuja on Thursday after addressing a joint press conference in Yaounde with his host, Paul Biya.