Nigeria Wants to Talk with Cameroon Over Bakassi Dispute

Olusegun Obassanjo, the president of Nigeria, is seeking a meeting with Paul Biya of Cameroon in hopes of heading off another war over the Bakassi Peninsula. Earlier this month the International Court of Justice ceded the peninsula to Cameroon after a prolonged dispute. Nigeria is rejecting the ruling.

Obasanjo has said Nigeria will not resort to war to protect its citizens who make up more than 95 percent of the Bakassi population. "I am ready to meet with President Paul Biya of Cameroon anytime, anywhere to work out a political solution to the dispute," Obasanjo told Bakassi leaders who visited him to thank him for rejecting the World Court ruling. "The judgment was politically hard for Nigeria to swallow," Obasanjo said. "Judgments are not given in a vacuum. What may be legally right may not be politically expedient to Nigeria. Bakassi is much more than an issue of maps and treaties."

"We will not initiate any action that will amount to a breach of peace. We will spare no effort to dialogue and negotiate...We want peace but the interest of Nigeria will not be sacrificed," Obasanjo added.