Nigeria’s super Falcons yesterday qualified for the semi-finals of the on-going Africa Women Championship after thrashing Ivory Coast 3-1 in the final group B match.
Evelyn Nwabuoku would have been the stage opener effort with a pass from defender Ngozi Ebere went astray as it the side net, but less than a minute after that effort, the Super Falcons got the lead through Ogonna Chukwudi.
Chances were coming in great measure for the Nigerian women who dominated their rivals with Stella Mbachu and Ngozi Okobi being constant threats to the Ivorian team and in the 42nd minute it paid off again as defender Ngozi Ebere latched home the second for Nigeria a free kick while Mbachu took the game beyond the opponents with the third goal in the 75th minute.
But the Ivorians fought back in the closing stages of the game and were rewarded with a consolation goal scored by N’Rehy Tia Viho Ines in the 82nd minute.
Falcons coach Kadiri Ikhana praised the performance of his players saying the maximum points gained from three group matches were indication that Nigeria could retain the title.
Nigeria’s semi-finals opponents are the Bayana Bayana of South Africa on Wednesday at the Nkoantoma Stadium, 5.30pm Nigerian time.
Nigeria’s Super Falcons made good their promise of beating the Lionesses of Cameroon to take their pound of flesh after beating the Cameroonians 2-1.
Perpetual Nkwocha made sure that promise was met when she scored the sealing goal very late into the second half to see the French speaking country that ensured the Falcons miss the London Olympics as Falcons lost 4-3 on penalties after aggregate scores stood at 3-3.
Substitute Ngozi Okobi brought life to Nigeria attack and her pull-out found the durable Perpetua Nkwocha at far post to connect home with a diving header in the 90th minute to seal a hard-earned victory for the African champions.
It was the Super Falcons all the way from the blow of the start whistle with impressive moves as they dominated and took the lead at the tail end of the first half thanks to an Onyinyechi Ohagugha canon from 20 yards.
Though, it wasn’t all smooth sail going into the clash which held today in Equitorial Guinea as the water-logged pitch adversely affected the standard of play culminating into so many chances wasted by both sides, also denying the players the chance to show their full potentials on pitch.
On resumption of the second half as if some dressing room talk down was handed to the Cameroonians, Indomitable Lioness of Cameroon fought back and that paid off as they drew level in the 53rd minute with a penalty converted by skipper Patience Mani after a Nigerian defender committed an infringement inside the box.
Before then the Super Falcons had a chance to double their lead through Stella Mbachu’s 19-yard shot which hit the crossbar in the 49th minute.
After their equalizer, the game sort of changed in favour of the Cameroonians as they dominated the better part of second half and would have taken the lead through a rebound which Louni fired wide unfortunately in front of an open net.
Meanwhile, hosts Equatorial Guinea beat South Africa 1-0 on Sunday.
A two day meeting of the US – Nigeria Bi-national Commission on the Niger Delta and National Development Working Group today began in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.
Expressing sympathy to the people of the Niger Delta region on the flood that have displaced a lot of persons, the leader of the US delegation, Cynthia Akuetteh said the essence of the meeting is to discuss the challenges facing the Niger Delta region and to finding lasting solutions to their problems.
She pointed the areas of discussion to include the acceleration of development through public – private partnership, enhance environmental protection and strengthen maritime security in the region
In her opening remark in a paper titled “Laying A Foundation For Lasting Peace In the Delta” Akuetteh disclosed that, the region faces three complex overarching and overlapping challenges, which if not addressed could lead to renewed insecurity in the region. Those challenges, she said, are low levels of development, environmental devastation, and maritime criminality.
According to her, onshore and maritime oil theft persists, and environmental degradation caused by oil spills threatens the livelihoods of local communities.
she also disclosed that Nigeria has received almost $42 million in the first two years of Feed the Future which is the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative), a portion of which has been used to improve food security and livelihoods in the Niger Delta.
She said since 2006, the United States has provided over $35 million worth of equipment, to include automatic identification system, radars, defender class boats, and very high frequency (vhf) radios to Nigeria as well as to regional partners Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe, and Togo.
This also includes associated training to those same countries.
Permanet Secretary, Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador (Dr) Martin Uhomoihi, in his remarks ,while noting the strategic importance of the region to the nation’s economy and development, expressed hope that “the decision of our country with the US to have a working group solely devoted to the issues of Niger Delta and national development”.
He stated that the federal government has established the Ministry of Niger Delta, established the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and currently allocates 13 per cent as derivation revenue to oil producing communities, and has commenced Amnesty Programme for militant youths in the region
The host and governor of Rivers state, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, while thanking the organisers for choosing the state to host the conference, welcomed the delegates from both countries, and assured that the state was poised to ensure the meeting achieves its aim.
The commission was inaugurated on the 6th of April 2010 by the US Secretary of States Hillary Clinton and then Nigeria Secretary to the Government of the Federation Yayale Ahmed with the aim to strategic dialogue, designated to expand mutual cooperation across the broad range of shared interest.
President Goodluck Jonathan has set up a committee to look at the options for a review of the judgement that ceded the Bakassi peninsular to the Cameroons and how to take care of the people there.
The President’s decision which is coming a few days to the expiration of the appeal period on the case is following a long drawn-out meeting the president held with the leadership of the National Assembly over the matter in the presidential villa.
The meeting which lasted for about three and half hours had in attendance the Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and other key principal officers of the National Assembly, the Attorney General of the Federation, the governors of Cross River and Akwa Ibom, Secretary to the Government of the Federation as well as some select groups from Bakassi.
Prince Bola Ajibola who was also in attendance spoke to Channels Television after the meeting said by virtue of convening meeting, the Federal Government has shown a candid concern for its people in Bakassi and that according to him, it is the most important thing for now.
He commended the move to follow the rule of law, dialogue and diplomacy in ensuring that the people are not wrongly dealt with.
He expressed optimism that the committee set up will handle it in a record time.
Liyel Imoke the Cross River state governor said that the president has shown great leadership quality by convening the meeting and standing firm on some of the decisions taken.
On his part, the Senate President; David Mark said that the Executive and the law makers are on the same frequency on the Bakassi issue and will work in the same direction to achieve results.
The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, Rep. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, says the National Assembly has to urgently consider the manner resolutions of the legislature are treated by the executive.
The lawmaker was reacting to the decision of the executive not to seek a review of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling which ceded the Bakassi Penisula to the Republic of Cameroon.
She said the position taken by the executive flouts the resolution of the both chambers of the National Assembly and is a disservice to the country.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, has said Nigeria will not apply for the review of the judgment of the International Court of Justice, ceding the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon.
Adoke, in a statement on Monday, explained that the argument canvassed by the proponents of the review “is virtually bound to fail” as “a failed application will be diplomatically damaging to Nigeria”.
The AGF said the committee, set up by President Goodluck Jonathan had weighed the implications of a failed review, having noted the stringent condition attached to such review, and had advised Nigeria against appealing the 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.
“This is because their presentation was unable to show that Nigeria had 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. This is more so as 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.
“The Federal Government also retained a firm of international legal practitioners to advise on the merits and demerits of the case for revision. 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’.
“In view of the foregoing, the Federal 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.”
Adoke however expressed the concern of the FG on “the plight of Nigerians living in the Bakassi Peninsula and the allegations of human rights abuses being perpetrated against Nigerians in the Peninsula”.
He said, “The FG is determined to engage Cameroon within the framework of the existing implementation mechanisms agreed to by Nigeria and Cameroon in order to protect the rights and livelihoods of Nigerians living in the Peninsula.”
Indigenes of Bakassi in Cross River state, have file a suit against the Federal Government before a Federal High Court in Abuja, as they seek an order that will void the Green Tree Agreement that Nigeria signed with Cameroon in 2006.
The Green Treat Agreement presided over by the United Nations, was accented to by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the agreement affirmed Nigeria’s hand-over of the oil rich region to Cameroon.
In a motion ex-parte moved by their counsel, Mr Festus Ogwuche, the applicants sought an order that would compel the federal government, to by any means available to it, repossess, occupy and take full legal and administrative control of the Bakassi Peninsula.
The motion was filed pursuant to Section 1 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Enforcement and Ratification Act Cap 10, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 1990, as well as order 34 rules 1(a), 3(1) and (2) of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules (2007).
The suit was endorsed by nine executives of Free Bakassi Association, who sought the order to compel the federal government, President Goodluck Jonathan and the Attorney-General of the Federation, who were all joined as respondents in the suit, to “unilaterally resile and revoke Nigeria’s obligations under the Green Tree Agreement entered into between Nigeria and Cameroon in green tree, New York, USA on the 12th day of June, 2006.”
The Bakassi indigenes say the agreement is invalid and in breach of Articles 1, 2, 20, 21, 22 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 1(2) of the UN charter, and the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, and being inconsistent with sections 1-3, 2(1) and (6), 13, 14(1) and (2)(b), 17(1), (2)(b), (c ) and (d), sections 19(a) and 9d0, 21(a) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (as amended).”
The applicants, argued that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) gave its judgment on the protracted dispute over ownership of the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula, based “on archaic and anachronistic colonial declarations, and communications between colonial officers.”
More so, the applicants said they were neither consulted before former President Olusegun Obasanjo endorsed the Green Tree Agreement, saying they were totally kept out of the picture prior, during and even after the execution of the agreement.
Presiding Judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole adjourned ruling on the application for October 9th , saying he needed time to carefully peruse the court processes in view of “weighty national issues raised therein.”
The National Assembly has always been rejecting the move by the Executive on the ceding of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon since 2006 as attempts have been made by the Federal Government to comply with section 12 of the Nigeria constitution, this is the saying of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria; Femi Falana who was a guest on our breakfast show Sunrise daily while discussing the Bakassi Peninsula matter.
He said the handing over of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon was the height of ‘Executive Lawlessness’ and it is not tolerated by the Nigeria constitution.
The legal practitioner quoted section 12 of the constitution in furtherance saying ‘No treaty signed between Nigeria and another country can come into force without an enactment into law by the National Assembly’.
Recalling the Bakassi Peninsula matter, since the administration of former President , Olusegun Obasanjo when the handing over was done then through the reign of deceased President Shehu Musa Yaradua, the National Assembly has stood their grounds in rejecting the treaty and according Mr. Falana ‘As far as the international law is concerned or the constitution of Nigeria is concerned, it is the end of the matter’.
‘Anything predicated on, a treaty rejected by the National Assembly becomes an illegality’ Falana said.
With just a few days left to the expiration of time Nigeria has to seek a review on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling which ceded Bakassi Pennisula to Cameroon, the Nigerian Senate has released some facts that were allegedly not tendered at the ICJ whilst the case lasted. The upper legislative arm is now compelling the executive to seek the review before the expiration on the 10th of October, 2012.
This was the view of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business; Senator Ita Enang, who was interviewed from our Abuja studio on Sunrise Daily on Friday. He claimed that with the new facts emerging on the ownership of Bakassi Peninsula, the executive arm of government must be spurred to appeal the judgement.
According to the Senator, there are fresh facts which were not made available to the court at that time the judgement was passed.
He also argued that the judgement and the handing-over of Bakassi is imperfect because the Senate has not been ratified by the Green Tree Treaty that was agreed on by the leaders of the two countries in 2005, as dictated by the 1999 Constitution.
The Senator added that the terms of the Green Tree implementation has been severally violated by the Cameroonian authorities and that the supervising parties also did not do what is expected because the interest of the people of the Bakassi Peninsula was not sought.
The Senate on Wednesday appealed to the Presidency to invoke Article 61 of the International Court of Justice statute to appeal against the judgment ceding Bakassi to Cameroon. The Senate’s appeal followed a debate on a motion titled, “The Judgment of the ICJ on the International Boundaries between Nigeria and Cameroon including Bakassi.”
Leading the debate on the motion, Abdul Ningi (PDP-Bauchi), who sponsored it along with 18 other senators, noted that the deadline for appealing against the ICJ judgment would expire on October 9.
The judgment was given in 2002 and Nigeria had a 10 year period within which to appeal the verdict or lose Bakassi to Cameroon forever.
Mr Ningi noted that the judgment was erroneously based on an agreement between the British and Calabar chiefs in 1884.
He said that there had never been a precedent in history where a case of this nature was executed without a referendum as enshrined in the UN rules.
“We are disturbed by the lack of faithful implementation of the Green Tree Agreement signed by both the Cameroon and Nigerian governments, thereby vitiating the basis of the implementation of the court’s judgment.
“Articles 3(1) and 2(a) of the Green Tree Agreement stipulate that after the transfer of the territory to Cameroon, the Cameroonian authorities should guarantee the Nigerian citizens in the Bakassi Peninsula the exercise of their fundamental human rights,” he said.
The Senator said the motion was premised on the fact that new facts had emerged after the ruling that were not available before the first trial coupled with the absence of a Nigerian legal representation.
The Leader of the Senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba (PDP-Cross River), said that there had been three motions in the previous Senate urging the Federal Government to tarry a while before ceding Bakassi.
Mr Ndoma-Egba expressed regret that the appeals were not heeded by the government and in spite of the protest by the people of Cross River; the government went ahead to hand Bakassi over to Cameroon.
“Bakassi was ceded in spite of the protest by Cross River State. Bakassi was ceded when Cross River had no governor because the election of Liyel Imoke had been annulled.
“There was an acting governor in place. The ceding of Bakassi will go down in history as the fastest compliance with the judgment of the International Court of Justice,” he said.
Mr Ndoma-Egba said the least that the people of Cross River demanded was compensation if they could not be put back to where they were before Bakassi was ceded.
Contributing to the debate, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia) wondered which country in the world would willingly give away its own property.
Mr Abaribe said the question of whether Bakassi was ceded because Cross River was a minority should not even arise since they were still citizens of Nigeria.
Hadi Sirika (CPC- Katsina) noted that the issue of referendum was very crucial and essential to the matter.
He called on the Senate to do all within its powers to make the Presidency to appeal against the judgement.
In his contribution, George Akume (ACN-Benue) said that the matter was brought before the National Council of State at the time by then President Olusegun Obasanjo for advice.
He said it had been a very contentious issue, adding that at the end of the debate, the resolution of the council was only advisory.
He said its members were made to understand that Nigeria was being represented by the best legal brains.
Heineken Lokpobiri (PDP-Bayelsa) noted that the motion should have come much earlier, saying Nigeria could take the second option which was to go back and reclaim Bakassi.
“There are two options, one is for us to appeal from now to October 9 and the second one is for us to go back to Bakassi and reclaim it.
“If Nigeria had not elected to appear before the court, it would not have had jurisdiction over it.
“My candid opinion is that Bakassi has not been legally ceded to Cameroon,” he said.
The Senate President, David Mark said he would on his own write a personal letter to President Goodluck Jonathan on the matter.
“Time is not on our side and so whatever decision or resolution we take should be that Bakassi should be returned to us,”” Mr Mark said.
He noted that going on appeal was the only right thing to do since Nigeria had subjected itself to the international court.
Mr Mark noted that it was the belief of every Nigerian that Bakassi should not have been ceded to Cameroon, saying that the Senate would protect all Nigerians.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has deployed relief materials to the camps where over 10,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from Kogi and Benue states are taking refuge after they were sacked from their homes with the ravaging flood across north central region of Nigeria.
A technical team from the agency visited areas devastated by the floods along the banks of Rivers Benue and Niger and their tributaries in states over the weekend to assess the damage and identify suitable intervention required to address the problem.
According to the team, most of the affected areas remained flooded with most of the displaced persons resorting to taking shelter in four camps.
The flood in Benue state is said to affect the communities in Makurdi, the state capital, along the river belt, while about nine local government areas were affected in Kogi State, with Ibaji Local Government Area almost submerged.
Other local government areas affected as Bassa, Ofu, Kogi, Omala, Ajaokuta, Ankpa, Igalamela and Lokoja, where property, including hotels, residential buildings, offices and fishing communities along the confluence of Rivers Benue and Niger have all been submerged.
NEMA’s Director of Planning, Research and Forecasting, Charles Agbo, during a meeting with Kogi State governor, Wada Idris, warned of prolonged flooding as more water would still be released from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon and Kainji Dam with the intensifying rains.
He also urged the state government to enforce the standard regulation on urban planning and development as well as permanently relocate communities in the flood plains to safer locations.
“Even after the flood, most of the submerged houses may become too weak and no longer be safe for habitation, in addition to the potential health hazards from the disaster,” he warned.
“Therefore, the states governments must to rise up to their responsibilities to the affected communities as the Federal Government, through NEMA, would provide necessary support the displaced persons.”
The governor expressed concern of the Federal Government towards the flood situation and requested support to reinforce the efforts by the state government to assist the displaced persons, while urging NEMA and other relevant organizations to identify measures to mitigate future occurrence of the flood.