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Boundaries or border zones in Africa and the inter-state and inter-community relations generated across them, have been major sites for the inter-play of various social, economic, and political dynamics. Boundaries which mark the geographical limits state, as well as the extent of its sovereignty are also a notable strategic feature of nations’ survival. This explains why nations jealously protect and defend their political frontiers and c1aries. The outcome of this protection in international relations is incessant territorial disputes among nations of the world.[i]

Territorial disputes have been the most common sources of inter-state crises in post-colonial Africa. Since the year 1961, more than half of the member-states of the continental body (the OAU now AU), have been involved in at least one territorial dispute.

Looking at Nigeria, for instance, there have been various border disputes with her neighbors. In 1976, the Republic of Benin aimed sovereignty over the village of Shanji in Sokoto State. Cameroon also claimed sovereignty over eighteen villages in the Bakassi Peninsula.2

The relationship between Nigeria and Cameroon, as well as has been marked essentially by mutual and outright alienation. Put differently, with Cameroon has historically been in conflict since both of them attained independence. The reason for negative experience of age-long hostility is that in the prenial era, and even in the colonial times, a very high percentage of the people and territories that presently consutute Cameroon were part and parcel of administrative state units within the territory of present-day Nigeria.


During the European scramble for Africa, Queen Victoria signed a Treaty of Protection with the King and chiefs of Akwa-Akba, known to Europeans as “Old Calabar”, on 10 September 1884. This enabled the United Kingdom to exercise control over te entire territory around Calabar, including Bakassi. The territory consequently became de facto part of the Republic of Nigeria, although the border was never permanently delineated.

However, Documents released by the Cameroonians, partly with that of the British and Germans, clearly places Bakassi under Cameroonian territory as a consequence of colonial era Anglo-German agreements. Interestingly, even after southern Cameroon voted in 1961 to leave Nigeria and became a part of Cameroon, Bakassi remained under Nigeria until the International Court Justice ;dgment of 2002.(3)

Nigeria’s relations with Cameroon since the ICJ judgment cver Bakassi in 2002 have been ‘tenuous’, ‘tentative’, ‘inherently conflictual’ and ‘one. of a continuous encounter with border problematic’.4 Even though the intervention of the ICJ further defined the land, coastal and maritime boundaries between the two countries, their relations with each other has not been very smooth and cordial.

Since the ID judgment in 2002, it was found that the existence and intensification of the boundary conflict between the independent successor states of Nigeria and Cameroon were due to incompatible and irreconcilable claims of rights to the Bakassi, incompletely and imprecisely delimited terrain; cross- border activities of over-zealous state security and revenue operatives; the discovery and exploitation of rich hydrocarbon deposits and the frustration experienced by Cameroon over Nigeria’s repeated back-off from freely endorsed bilateral protocols and conventions on the southern section of their common interface.

The complete withdrawal of Nigerian civil administration, police and soldiers from Bakassi through the Green Tree Agreement of 2006 Still could not proffer a lasting solution over the Bakassi issue between Nigeria and Cameroon. This research, therefore, intends to look into the relations between the two countries since the ICJ judgment over the Bakassi, to re-appraise the ICJ ruling and proffer a fair and sustainable solution to the management of relations between the two neighbours following the ICJ judgment over Bakassi.


Statement of the Problem

The bilateral relations between Nigeria and Cameroon for over a decade, following the International Court of Justice ruling over the Bakassi peninsula in 2002 seem to remain hostile as it was before the dispute over the southern boundary was taken to the International Court of Justice.

The Green Tree Agreement of 2006 which could have been the solution to the hostile relations was far from being the way forward. Many Nigerians of Bakassi extraction have faced challenges as a result of the International Court of Justice ruling, because it resulted in their displacement. There have also been security issues in which the two countries continue to point accusing fingers to each other. Meanwhile, it is Indisputable that the two countries are the most important trading partners in Africa.

In the light of the above, therefore, this research project intends to account for the lull in bilateral relations between Nigeria and Cameroon since the ICJ judgment over Bakassi.

Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the research are to:

  1. Examine Nigeria-Cameroon relations in historical perspective
  2. Discuss the Bakassi peninsula in retrospect

iii. Examine the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Cameroon since the IC) ruling

  1. Re-appraise the ICJ judgement
  2. Proffer the way forward: taking into account the importance of the Nigeria-Cameroon mixed commission in restoring relations between the two neighbours.

Significance of the Study

  1. The study will be a useful literature to the existing ones.
  2. The study will proffer a sustainable solution to the hostile relations between Nigeria and Cameroon following the ICJ ruling over the Bakassi peninsula.
  3. The study will serve as an expose of post-colonial realities in Africa.


Scope of the Study

The study will cover the Nigeria — Cameroon boundaries since the ICJ Judgment; the activities of the Nigeria-Cameroon Mixed Commission, and also look into other issues and matters that concern Nigeria’s relations with Cameroon since the ICJ judgment over Bakassi.

Research Methodology

This study employs two approaches. The first is the descriptive approach, while the second is the analytical approach. There is the use of materials collected from different sources such as libraries. There is also the use of information obtained from knowledgeable persons in this area of study.

Literature Review

This review will be based on the general perspective. The reason for this is that there are not much publication on Post ICJ judgment, which is the study area.

Jonathan 0. Familugba, and 0. 0. Ojo have observed that the relationship between the two neighbors (Nigeria and Cameroon) had been beneficial to the government and individual citizens of both countries before 1960. They opine that in the northern sections of both countries, grazing lands were commonly used in some areas. For example, around Adamawa and Mandara Hills, grazers gain from this cooperation, and the government of both countries equally derived from tax payers’ money and that the fishermen from both sides jointly used the local rivers for fishing and other domestic purposes.

They also believe that the :rend of Nigeria-Cameroon relationship underwent changes from 1960s till the ICJ ruling in 2002. and that the changes are characterized by disharmony and are inherently conflict prone. This was partly due to the influence exerted by France and the leadership role of Nigeria in the sub-region. However, they have not   been able to proffer any solution that will change the hostile relationship between the two nations.5

Looking into an appraisal of the 2005 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report on Nigeria, Ahamad highlighted the existence of threat, greater possibility of boundary disputes and cross-border conflicts as contained, in the report. What is important to note in Ahamad’s article is that, the report was released after the ICJ ruling on Nigeria-Cameroon boundary disputes.

Secondly, the report’s 15 years futuristic intelliaence conjecture is expected to lapse in 2020. The implication which is corroborated in this study is that the ICJ judgment may not be the final act of resolution to Nigeria’s most problematic international boundary as more conflicts are expected to occur. Here. The author’s recommendation of good and credible democratic governance is shared at all in this study as a lasting solution to such a hard-deal-with problem, which has to do with straddling resources over-zealous state functionaries.6


Bonchuk figured out the cultural diffusion and movements in Nigeria-Cameroon border zone before the imposition of the ria-Cameroon boundary. The author attempted to present an evidence or the spread of some socio-cultural ideas, and religion in addition to inter-ethnic and long distance commercial inter-course, before the arbitrary partitioning area by Anglo-German Agreements. Although the article provide an overwhelming insight into shared attributes, the author stopped short of recommending them as a guide for the articulation management. a problem- solving boundary policy and management.7

Adeleye J. Omede analysed the relations between Nigeria and her neighbors as Nigeria is seriously threatened by the various activities of her immediate neighbors who are mostly

Francophone countries. The bilateral military, political, and economic agreement between France and her erstwhile colonial state are largely attributed to the frequency with which these countries infringe on the sovereignty of Nigeria.8

 One fundamental question that has often been raised on the issue of threats and Nigeria’s national security has been on the roll of France in the West African sub-region. Nevertheless, one can say that the activities of Cameroon, Chad, and other neighboring countries (in terms of dispute over border territories incursions into Nigeria’s land) constitute serious threat to Nigeria’s national security.

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