UN-backed panel on Cameroon-Nigeria border demarcation concludes latest session

Special Representative Said Djinnit (centre) with representatives of Nigeria and Cameroon in December 2012. UN Photo

26 April 2013 – Representatives from Cameroon and Nigeria wrapped up today their 31st meeting on demarcation of the boundary between the two countries, deciding to resume the pillar emplacement project, according to the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).

Meeting in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé, members of the so-called Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission were continuing their work on the implementation of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment regarding the demarcation of the boundary between the two neighbouring nations, UNOWA said in a news release.

According to UNOWA, during the 31st session of the Mixed Commission, the UN Country Teams from Cameroon and Nigeria also reported on progress regarding the development of socio-economic projects in assistance to the populations affected by the demarcation, in addition to Government investments on infrastructure. These projects, submitted to donors, seek to foster solidarity between populations on both sides of the border.

“We expect that these efforts, with the support of the United Nations will result in food security, water supply, education, energy, resettlement and the integration of the populations”, highlighted Mohammed Bello Adoke, Minister of Justice of Nigeria, who, according to the UNOWA release, led the Nigerian Delegation.

“The Mixed Commission can be proud of commendable achievements in eleven years of activity. To date, experts from Cameroon and Nigeria, assisted by those from the United Nations, have agreed on the placement of boundary pillars representing 95 percent of the assessment work,” Amadou Ali, Vice-Prime Minister of Cameroon, said in the UNOWA release.

To address growing security challenges in the sub-region, Said Djinnit, Chairman of the Mixed Commission and head of UNOWA, welcomed the announcement by the delegations on the implementation of a Trans-border Security Agreement. “Terrorism thrives in the absence of development perspectives as well as insufficient border surveillance, he said, adding that the requests he recently submitted to UNOWA’s partners sought to support social and economic integration for border populations.

The ICJ ruled on the issue in 2002 and that verdict was followed by the 2006 Greentree Agreement – signed under the auspices of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan – under which Nigeria recognized Cameroonian sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula, one part of the border.

The demarcation of the land boundary is the third component of the mandate of the Commission, UNOWA noted. The two countries agreed on the delimitation of the maritime border in 2007, and the withdrawal and transfer of authority in the Lake Chad area, along the land border and in Bakassi Peninsula, was finalized 2008.


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