By IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA—As Nigeria finally forfeited its right to formally appeal against the controversial judgment of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, which in 2002, ceded the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun, the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, yesterday, distanced itself from the position of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, on the matter.
Addressing newsmen yesterday, NBA, through its National President, Chief Okechukwu Wali, SAN, said it was convinced that Nigeria ought to have applied for a review of the ICJ Judgment based on fresh facts and evidence it said had emanated since 10 years ago when the verdict was delivered in favour of Cameroun.
The legal body noted that though it championed campaign for the Federal Government to appeal against the ICJ judgment, it was regretable that neither the Federal Government nor the AGF, involved the association in the process that culminated to the eventual surrender of Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun.
Wali said: “It was a pity. The position of the Nigerian Bar Association right from the onset was that Jonathan should go back to the ICJ for a review of that judgment. We believe he heard us and set-up a committee to revisit the judgment. Unfortunately, NBA was not a part of that committee and therefore did not know what the committee did.
“We only heard that the committee weighed the fresh facts that were brought before it and took its decision. We condemn frivolous litigation but we were unable to tell the weight of the said fresh evidence that was brought before the committee because of the fact that NBA was not part of that committee.”
It will be recalled the AGF, Adoke, on Tuesday, espoused reasons why the Federal Government could not appeal the ICJ judgment. He said: “The Committee proceeded to examine the case for revision against the requirements of Article 61 of the ICJ Statute and was constrained to observe from the oral presentations made to it by the proponents of the revision that the strict requirements of Article 61 could not be satisfied.”
Contending that those that clamoured for the ICJ verdict to be appealed against, failed to “show that Nigeria has discovered a decisive fact that was unknown to her before the ICJ judgment, which is capable of swaying the court to decide in its favour.” Adoke had insisted that “most of the issues canvassed in support of the case for a revision of the ICJ judgment had been canvassed and pronounced upon by the ICJ in its 2002 judgment.”
He said the Federal Government had retained a firm of international legal practitioners to advice on the merits and demerits of the case for revision, adding that “The firm after considering all the materials that were placed at its disposal against the requirements of Article 61 of the ICJ Statute came to the reasoned conclusion that “an application for a review is virtually bound to fail” and that “a failed application will be diplomatically damaging to Nigeria”.
According to him, “In view of the foregoing, the Federal Government is of the informed view that with less than two days to the period when the revision will be statute barred October 9, 2012), it would be impossible for Nigeria to satisfy the requirements of Articles 61(1) -(5) of the ICJ Statute. Government has, therefore decided that it will not be in the national interest to apply for revision of the 2002 ICJ judgment in respect of the land and maritime boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria.”
Calls for prosecution of Mubi, Aluu killers
Meantime, the NBA yesterday said it was deeply concerned about “the alarming rate of insecurity in the country and the attendant debasement of our national psyche leading to disregard for the sanctity of human life.”
Consequently, the legal body maintained that “nothing short of the identification and prosecution of the Mubi and Aluu killers and collaborators will assuage the feelings of Nigerians,” describing the uncanny incidents as signs of “a total system failue.”
The NBA said; “There is no disputing the fact that these show a total system failure. Neither of these dastardly acts took place in a time frame that the security agencies would not have arrived the scene and prevented the murders, if there had been timely intervention.
“The NBA repeats its support for the call for state police, we believe that it will inter-alia, aid adequate funding, training and intelligence gathering. These deaths were preventable with timeous intervention by the police. Our policing system today has failed; it is underfunded and so ill equipped and incapable of protecting lives and property.
“The NBA has put plans in place to organize a national summit on peace and security in Nigeria, designed to bring stakeholders together to discuss internal security as the biggest threat to national developments, integration and progress.”
Besides, NBA, inaugurated a committee that will within the next one month, fashion out blueprints towards engendering a holistic reform of the legal association.
The committee is headed by the Director-General of the Enugu Law School, Mr. Ernest Ojukwu.
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Bakassi: NBA dissociates self from FG’s position