Fact-check: Is Nigeria on the Verge of Losing 24 Local Governments To Cameroon?

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Claim: A news report by a Nigerian newspaperstated that “By July 10 this year, Nigeria may lose 24 local councils, by way of ceding, to a new country to be known as United Nations Organisation (UNO) State of Cameroon at its borders with la Republique du Cameroun.”

The report added that “The UN, according to recent reports, pledged to actualize a new State of Cameroon on July 10, 2020. Residents of Southern Cameroon were excited over the merger of their land with Northern Cameroon in Nigeria, comprising 24 local government areas in Borno (five), Adamawa (12) and Taraba (seven) states.”

Verdict: False and Misleading

Fact: The United Nations office in Nigeria and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs debunked the rumour trending on the Internet and published by different news platforms.

In a tweet by an aide to the President Muhammad Buhari, Bashir Ahmad described the news as “100% fake”.

“You might have read this story on the Guardian newspapers, WhatsApp or somewhere else, the story is 100% fake, fabricated, maybe for an agenda only best known to those that started the spreading the fake news”, Mr Ahmad tweeted.

A report published by AIT stated that a source within the office of the United Nations termed the news as false, saying that the UN doesn’t create states.

“Though some online media referenced the agreement, which gave July 10, 2020, as the date for implementation, a source in the united nations has described it as false, saying he does not create countries.”

The main purposes of the UN Charter are four and include maintaining worldwide peace and security, developing relations among nations, fostering cooperation among the nations and providing a forum for bringing countries together; but doesn’t include the creation of states.

However, an agreement between Nigeria and Cameroon recognised the sovereignty of Cameroon authority over Bakassi Peninsula in accordance with the judgement of the International Court of Justice in 2002.

The agreement was signed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Paul Biya of Cameroon in New York, in 2006, where Nigerian forces were requested to withdraw the peninsula within sixty days or as might be extended by the UN Secretary-General.

In a response by Alhaji Dahiru Bobbo OFR, former Director-General of National Boundary Commission between 1999 to 2006, he stated that there is no iota of truth in the report.

“As the Director-General of the National Boundary Commission of Nigeria 1999 to 2006, I confirmed that there had never been a Summit between Obasanjo and Biya throughout the year 2003. Therefore there could have been no agreement, treaty, communique or any other bilateral exchange of documents between Cameroon and Nigeria on cessation of territories to UN or to anybody for that matter”, he said.

“The records available confirmed only two meetings of Presidents Obasanjo of Nigeria and Biya of Cameroon on Paris on 5th September 2002 and Geneva on 15 November 2002 both on the invitations of the UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANAN.

“The Communiques issued on the two Summits were in respect of the establishment of a Cameroon Nigerian Mixed Commission on the implementation of the decisions of the International Court of justice at the Hague(The World Court) on Bakassi Peninsula and the Land Boundary between Nigeria and Cameroon.

“The last two meetings between the UN SECRETARY-GENERAL and President Biya and President Obasanjo were held in Geneva o 11 May 2005 and at Greentree, New York on 12 June 2006 concerning the Modalities of Withdrawal and Transfer of Authority in the Bakassi Peninsula

“On the whole, the ruling of 10 October 2002 of the International Court of justice on the land and maritime dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria was peacefully implemented fully and there was no outstanding matter reserved for UN to create any new state in the affected region”, Mr Bobbo clarified.

The quest for the creation of Southern Cameroon, also known as Ambazonia, started in 2016 after residents took to streets to protest what they called economic injustice and linguistic discrimination they suffer from Cameroon.

Conclusion: The claim that Nigeria will lose 24 of its local governments to a new UNO Cameroon is false and misleading and was due to the poor interpretation of “Agreement Between The Republic of Cameroon and the Federal Republic of Nigeria Concerning the Modalities and Transfer of Authority in the Bakassi Peninsula”.

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