THE House of Representatives has halted plans to cede the Sina community in Michika Local Government Area (LGA) Adamawa to Cameroon.
The legislators disclosed this on Tuesday, September 12, during an investigative hearing on the Nigerian-Cameroon boundary disputes.
Chairman of the ad hoc Committee on International Boundary Dispute Beni Lar said legislators would visit the location in question on a fact-finding mission to resolve the dispute.
“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,” she said.
Adamu Adaji, the Director-General of the National Boundary Commission (NBC) responsible for the demarcation, said the process was being carried out following a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
He said there were documents available to show that the boundaries had existed, which were being used to re-establish the existing boundaries.
A representative of the Sina community, Adamu Kamale, who was present at the hearing, maintained that the area was Nigerian territory, as it was not considered during a ruling by the ICJ.
“From Lake Chad to Bakassi, the ICJ ruled on several communities based on different criteria. The criteria used for Bakassi are not the same used for Michika LGA.
“In our own case, the ruling stated clearly that it is the watershed, and if the watershed is to be used, it means any territory on the flank to the 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 on the ruling,” he said.
In 2022, tensions rose about the border demarcation process in border communities in Adamawa state.
Residents had halted the demarcation, which they described as suspicious during a protest in 2022 that almost degenerated into a bloody clash.
The demarcation followed a 2010 judgment by the ICJ, ceding some parts of Nigeria to Cameroon.
However, the altercations are based on allegations by Nigerians in border communities that Cameroonians were taking advantage of the judgment to overstep the approved boundaries.
Nigeria had ceded a part of Cross Rivers state, Bakassi, to Cameroon in 2008.
This came after a 15-year dispute over the ownership of Bakassi between Nigeria and Cameroon.
It was a protracted legal battle that spanned about eight years, after which the ICJ ruled in favour of Cameroon, basing its decision on the 1913 treaty between the colonial masters of the two countries.
Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via email@example.com or @ije_le on Twitter.