The International Court of Justice (I.C.J.) Judgment Over the Bakassi Peninsula: A Model in the Resolution of African Boundary Disputes

  • MO Bonchuk


The imposition of colonial boundaries in Africa created serious problems for the postcolonial states. In most instances boundary problems have resulted to border skirmishes and conflicts that have made many African states enemies of themselves as such. These boundaries are not pure boundaries since they have divided related ethnic groups, the sea bed and natural features into two or more states foisting on them a new notion of citizenship. The paper submits that boundary conflicts between Nigeria and Cameroon have been fuelled by the presence of hydro-carbon deposits in the area. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment has confirmed the Peninsula as being Cameroonian territory. It is indicated that this judgment be sustained by the two states in order to enable the Green Tree Agreement and the Mixed Commission to functionalise the decisions of the court. It is suggested that the option of war and litigation cannot resolve the impasse, rather, both states could benefit from the European Transboundary regionalism and convert their borders from irritants of war to bridges of development. This policy is in consonance with the Pan African idea of closer unity; including the Lagos Plan of Action, the African Economic Treaty Charter and the need to ground African economic integration on the realities of African history.


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eISSN: 1813-2227