Court Throws Out Bakassi Indigenes' Suit

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Nnamdi Felix / Abuja

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday threw out the suit filed by indigenes of Bakassi in Cross Rivers state seeking for an order to void the Green Tree Agreement that Nigeria signed with Cameroon in 2006.

The Green Tree Agreement officially marked the ceding of the oil rich peninsula to Cameroon by Nigeria and it also gave effect to the 2002 judgment of the International Court of Justice declaring Cameroon as the lawful owner of Bakkasi.

The applicants had sought for an order of mandamus compelling the Federal Government to re possess, occupy and take full legal and administrative control of the Bakassi Peninsula.

Delivering ruling on the motion ex parte, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that the reliefs being sought by the plaintiffs were political in nature.

He said that it was clear that the applicants counsel had a misconception of what he was pleading for and added that the grounds stated by the applicants were not that of public administration but of politics.

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The court further held that the ex parte motion brought by the applicants was not supported by any affidavit which made the application incompetent.

He held further that the reliefs pleaded in the application bordered more on political doctrine rather than that of public policy adding that the sacred power of the judiciary would not be drawn into the political arena.

The application was subsequently struck out for lack of jurisdiction.

The applicants had brought their motion pursuant to section 1 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights(Enforcement and Ratification Act Cap 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990, as well as Order 34 Rules 1(a), 3(1) and (2) of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2007.

The suit was endorsed by nine executives of Free Bakassi Association, Prince Imoh Ukpa Imoh, Mr Godwin Ukpong, Mr Chritian A. Umoh, Mr Anthony Achibong Ukong, Mr Kingsley Edu, Mr Etim Ekpeyong Ndong, Mr Offiong Anying Ekpeyong, Bassey Okon Osua and Bassey Ikoedem Antiga.