THE ETHNIC FACTOR IN THE NIGERIA CAMEROON BORDER DISPUTE

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ABSTRACT


Although the dynamics of the Nigeria-Cameroon border conflicts in its entirety has attracted
considerable attention in recent times, no serious study has been conducted to find out the
impact of the ethnic interests of the people living in the Bakassi and the link between the ICJ
ruling and the secessionist bid of the people as well, on the Nigeria-Cameroon border
problems. The central aim of this study therefore, is to analyze the implications the ethnic
interests of the people residing in the peninsular and the ICJ verdict pose on the entire
Nigeria-Cameroon border problems.
The study is guided by two main questions; first, “Have the ethnic interest of the people
living in the Bakassi, had any impacts on the entire dynamics of Nigeria-Cameroon border
problems?” Second, “Has the international court of justice ruling, inspired the secessionist
bid of Nigerians residing in the peninsular?
To this, it is an analysis of two human factors thrown up by a conflict situation as implicated
in the conflict. Therefore, two general points emerge from the study. First, pressure from the
real victims of the conflicts – that is those whose livelihood chances are directly threatened by
the conflict is often critical in explaining the conflict. In other words, the contradiction
brought about by the abstruse, artificial delineation of the two states’ boundary by the
colonialists in alter neglect of the Africa traditional style of separation is in the first place,
discovered as the root of the conflict. Second it is clear that there is a link between the ethnic
considerations of the Bakassians and their continuous bid for secession. Therefore, the
ethnicity of the people is often critical in bringing about the resolution of the NigeriaCameroon conflicts.
The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one covers the introductory phase of the
enquiry. It embraces the general introduction, statement of problem, objective of study,
significance of study, literature review, theoretical framework, hypotheses, research designmethods of data collection and analysis and the operationalization of terms.
In chapter two, we looked at the ethnic map of the Bakassi and European imperialism. Here,
we treated the geography of the Nigeria-Cameroon boundary, the ethnic groups and interethnic relations, ethnic groups and evolution of colonial boundaries, British/German
administration and obfuscation of the Nigeria-Cameroon colonial international boundary and
Bakassi ethnic groups and rise of other problems.
In chapter three, we examined the other complex dimensions of the Bakassi disputes which
embraced the political dimension, the cultural dimension, the legal dimension and the
strategic dimension as well.
The chapter four treats the effects of the Bakassi disputes on ethnic relations. Here, issues
like, the rise of the initial trends in the Bakassi disputes, the Nigeria-Biafran war and the
Bakassi question, Gowon/Nigeria and the Maroua declaration, Neighbor relations/foreign
involvement, the good offices of AU, UN and Kaffi Annan, and the Bakassi dispute,
Obasanjo and Abacha, two Nigerian leaders and the Bakassi, Court proceedings and the
Green Tree Agreement (GTA), the ICJ ruling and the Nigeria Territorial Integrity and
Bakassi ethnic groups and the resettlement programmes.
Finally, we summarized, conclude and proffered solutions in chapter five.

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