National Conference urges govt to resettle Bakassi people

National conference25 June 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The National Conference on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to, having lost the ownership of Bakassi Peninsula through the decision of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, come up with a policy of resettlement of Bakassi indigenes.

The resolution was unanimously adopted following consideration of the Report of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Diaspora Matter headed by Professor Ibrahim Gambari and Ambassador Lawrence Ekpebu, as deputy chairman.

It was also agreed that there should be a clearly defined operational agenda to guide the implementation of the nation’s foreign policy goals and objectives at four critical levels: Lake Chad Basin Commission; West Africa, ECOWAS, Africa (Africa Union/ECA) and the world at large (United Nations and other fora).

Conference however turned down a proposal that Nigeria should review the Green Tree Agreement it entered in respect of the ICJ ruling on Bakkasi Peninsula with a view to reclaiming the ceded portion of the country’s territory.

Delegates resolved that government should promote discipline within the Economic Community of West African States through sanctions for violations and rewards for team players.

Nigeria, Conference also resolved, should use its position to encourage the establishment of what it calls ECOWAS Brigade Standing Force.

To ensure better economic transactions within the West African sub-region through promotion of trade and investment, Nigeria should work towards early introduction of a single currency in ECOWAS

Conference wants the National Assembly to be encouraged to conclude its work on the Bill to create Diaspora Commission so that the president can give his assent.

The commission is to facilitate the engagement and accrual of full benefits including social capital remittances in the form of knowledge and experience and other dynamic benefits from millions of Nigerians in the Diaspora.

In addition, Conference proposed that Nigerians in the Diaspora should be included in all relevant state affairs depending on their knowledge and expertise for the development of the nation and not only for cash remittances purposes.

The conference also proposed that the Ministry of Forewing Affairs develops and publishes travel guides as is being done by other countries to serve as Nigerians travelling to some volatile countries either for business or pleasure.

As part of the country`s duty to protect and defend the interest of its nationals wherever they are, including Nigerians serving prison terms in foreign countries, the conference proposed that prisoners exchange between Nigeria and any other country should be on equal terms.

In carrying out the prisoner’s exchange, the conference stressed the necessity to fully screen any prisoner who purports to be a Nigerian before any prisoner exchange is undertaken. This is to guard against cases of foreign convicts bearing Nigerian passports in foreign jails.

The conference in its proposal also called for the curtailment of the excesses of first ladies and politicians who frivolously use diplomats abroad for unofficial purposes thereby distracting them from concentrating on their official duties.

The National Conference also wants the federal government to regulate donations by foreign agencies to Nigerian Non-Governmental Organizations

The creation of an agency for External Aid that will coordinate all aid giving processes in the country was also part of the conference proposal. The agency which would be a parastatal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would have representatives from the Ministries of Finance, National Planning, Defence, Trade and Industry, Justice as well as Central Bank on its board.
*National Conference-Press statement

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