THIRD PARTY INTERVENTION IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION: CASE OF ICJ RULING ON NIGERIA VERSUS CAMEROON OVER BAKASSI PENINSULA


RESEARCH PROPOSAL

 TABLE OF CONTENT

Chapter One: Introduction

The terms “third party” and “intermediary” are both used to refer to a person or team of people such as the ICJ who become involved in a conflict to help the disputing parties manage or resolve it. Third parties might act as mediator or arbitrators, helping one side or both sides analyze the conflict and plan an effective response.

The resource-rich Bakassi peninsula, and the 1,600 kilometre – long border area between Cameroon and Nigeria extending from Lake Chad to the Gulf of Guinea, has been a bone of contention between the two countries dating back to colonial period. Hostilities and military confrontations broke out in the early 1990s between Cameroon and Nigeria. In 1994, Cameroon asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, to settle a dispute over its boundary with Nigeria, especially the question of sovereignty over the Bakassi peninsula, and over islands in Lake Chad, and to specify the course of the land and maritime boundary between the two countries (ICJ Reports, 2002).

After eight years of adjudication, the Court delivered its judgment on the merits of the case on 10th  October 2002, deciding, in part, that sovereignty over the Bakassi peninsula and in the disputed area in the Lake Chad region lies with Cameroon. To help implement this decision in a peaceful manner, President Paul Biya of Cameroon and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria asked the Secretary-General to set up a Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission chaired by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, to consider ways of following up on the ICJ ruling and moving the process forward.

Today, Bakassi peninsula is governed by Cameroon, following the transfer of sovereignty from neighbouring Nigeria as a result of a judgment by the International Court of Justice. On 22 November 2007, the Nigerian Senate rejected the transfer, since the Green Tree Agreement ceding the area to Cameroon was contrary to Section 12(1) of the 1999 Constitution. Regardless, the territory was transferred to Cameroon on 14 August 2008.

This chapter therefore examined the cession of Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon with the aim of finding out whether it was an international conspiracy or a diplomatic blunder. Some research questions were raised bothering on whether Bakassi was ever located in Nigeria, when and why the dispute broke out between Nigeria and Cameroon, and whether the International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict was fair to Nigeria.

Chapter Two: Literature Review

Literature was reviewed based on the following: first, to locate the geographical position of Bakassi Peninsula, second, find out the sources of dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over Bakassi, and third, weigh scholars’ view of the ICJ verdict. Conspiracy theory was used and territorial defence political geography concepts were equally used. Some related literatures were reviewed. It was discovered that the ICJ ruling was an International Conspiracy against Nigeria because of the interest of France on the issue. Nigeria on her own part committed a lot of blunder by sheepishly adhering to the judgment because of an eye on a seat at the UN. The citizens concerned are not satisfied, and the Nigerian legislators felt greatly marginalized.

Chapter Three: Research Methodology

This chapter deals with the methodology and the research instrument to be used in getting data for the study. This study uses descriptive survey type. The target population involves citizens of Nigeria and Cameroon in Nigeria. The sample consists of two hundred (200) respondents randomly selected from the two countries. Questionnaire was used as instrument for data collection. Simple percentage method of data analysis was adopted for demographic data. Inferential statistical analysis was used to analyse the data.

Chapter Four: Data Analysis

In this chapter, the researcher will analyse the data collected for the research work and interpret it according to the research hypotheses formulated in chapter one.

Chapter Five: Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

Summary and conclusions are to be drawn from the research literature, research findings and data analysis. Recommendations on linking ICJ ruling to peace in Bakassi Peninsula will be made in the final chapter.

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