A group, under the aegis of Patriots Without Borders (PWB), has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State to order over a plot to cede a part of the state to the Republic of Chad.
The group raised this alarm over potential threat to Nigeria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in an open letter to the president on Monday.
In the letter signed by President, High Chief (Hon) Jack Efetobo, the group revealed that Zulum violated the powers of the Presidency by discussing national security with foreign nationals.
According to PWB, there is already a discreet plot to cede part of Nigeria’s territorial lands to Chad, precisely, the oil-rich Lake Chad Basin in exchange for assistance by masked state-actors in fighting Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in Borno state.
The group, however, urged President Buhari to investigate Zulum and his co-conspirators as well as take immediate actions to halt the execution of such seditious plots against Nigeria.
The statement reads:
“Sir, the Patriots Without Borders (PWB) is forced to publicly draw your attention to what we consider as a potential threat to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Nigeria. We feel, it is a patriotic duty to voice out to save posterity impending anguish; but a disservice to our country Nigeria, to maintain a conspiratorial silence.
“It must have come to your official notice that on January 20, 2020, the Executive Governor of Borno state, His Excellency, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum paid an official visit to the Republic of Chad.
“Media reports elaborated that Gov. Zulum’s visit to Chad had the twine agenda of discussing the country’s withdrawal of its forces from Nigeria early January this year and negotiations with Chadian agents on how to render assistance to Borno state in fighting Boko Haram.
“PWB reliably sourced that while in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena, Gov. Zulum held secret talks with the Commander, Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Yusuf and other stakeholders of the team at its headquarters on issues of combating Boko Haram in Borno state and agreements were sealed. The Governor also visited the headquarters of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).
“We are concerned and boldly states that matters of foreign or international relations between countries particularly on a sensitive and explosive agenda like security are not covered by the powers averred an executive governor of a state.
“Gov. Zulum’s actions violates the powers of the Presidency and traduces his limitations as serving Governor. The patriots are compelled to discern from Gov. Zulum’s actions, discreet plots to likely cede part of Nigeria’s territorial lands to Chad, precisely, the oil-rich Lake Chad Basin in exchange for assistance by masked state-actors in fighting Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in Borno state.
“No matter the justification for Zulum’s visit to Chad and the rewarding fruits of the negotiations, we hold the deal suspect for very basic reasons. Gov. Zulum has wittingly abused his executive powers by the agenda of the visit. And his actions constitute a flagrant affront to the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) under your leadership.
“We strongly suspect that silence is not golden, as the actions of the Governor have exposed Nigeria’s part of Lake Chad Basin or even other territories to threats akin to what the country experienced with the Republic of Cameroun in the colonial times with Bakassi Peninsula in Cross River state.
“Nigeria eventually lost the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula after prolonged international litigations over the disputed territory. And Gov. Zulum’s current engagement with some leaders in Chad in the guise of soliciting for assistance to fight Boko sHaram drapes with similar tenor.
“Permit us to briefly refresh your memory on the series of incidents which were animated more than a century later and culminated into Bakassi becoming a disputed territory. It was powered by certain agreements local chiefs and kings “harmlessly” signed with external forces, just like Gov. Zulum’s indulgence today.
“The sequence of events on the Bakassi which is sitting on the Gulf of Guinea is as follows;- (a) At the peak of the scramble for Africa, the King and other chiefs of Akwa Akpa, the aborigines of Bakassi signed a Treaty of Protection with Queen Victoria. (b)The treaty permitted the British empire to exalt control over the entire territory and vicinities around Calabar, with Bakassi inclusive. By virtue of this power, Bakassi’s un-delineatedborder became a de factor part of Nigeria.
“It was at the convenience of the British-German or Anglo-German arrangement on partitioning of African territories:- (c) In 1961 when Southern Cameroonians voted to leave Nigeria, Bakassi still existed as a territory under the Calabar administration. (d) Decades upon decades later, after the local Chiefs signed the agreement with Queen Victoria and both Nigeria and Cameroon became independent countries, a dispute sprouted over the ownership of Bakassi. (e) The claims by the two countries over who owns Bakassi lasted for years and became confrontational.
“The inflammable situation caused series of armed clashes in the region:- (f) So, in 1981, Cameroon and Nigeria were at the verge of war over Bakassi and the former also extended the land grabbing of Nigerian territories to Nigeria’s part of Lake Chad in present day Northern Borno state. (g) The violent clashes repeated sustainably in the early 1990s, compelling Cameroon on March 29, 1994 to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for legal redress.
“Unfortunately, the documents pleaded before the ICJ by Cameroon were in conformitywith that from the archives of the British and Germans. So, the ICJ in its verdict placed the possession of Bakassi under Cameroon. It was the simple agreement signed by the traditional rulers of Akwa Akpa in 1884 with Queen Victoria that came back to haunt and deprive Nigeria of the oil-rich Bakassi Penisula.
“Nigeria lost its sovereignty over Bakassi Penisula following the transfers of its ownership to the Republic of Cameroon by the ICJ’s judgment on October 10, 2002.The action by Gov. Zulum in undermining or usurping the powers of the President of the Nigerian Federation to directly negotiate assistance in fighting Boko Haram with any organ or proxies of Chad is a depiction and laying of the template for a repeat of the Bakassi palaver.
“From Nigeria’s experience over the problem of Bakassi, Gov. Zulum is knowingly or otherwise plunging the entire country into a potential dispute with the neighboring Chad over Nigeria’s legitimate territories. This suspicion is further heightened by the reality that the Nigerian side of the Lake Chad area has been a beautiful bride, which neighboring countries have been eying and attempting to snatch from Nigeria because of its natural treasures.
“PWB is convinced that ceding any part of Nigeria to Chad, especially from that axis is preposterous. It will only help the sponsors of Boko Haram to achieve their age-long ambition of stopping Nigeria’s oil exploration within the Lake Chad Basin at the detriment of Nigeria.
“We plead that you invoke the powers vested in you by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to investigate Gov. Zulum and his co-conspirators as well as take immediate actions to halt the execution of such seditious plots against Nigeria.
“Your administration has not proved helplessness in combating Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism in Nigeria. We are equally contented with the actions taken by your Government to rein in resurgent terrorists in the country. If Nigeria requires external intervention to curtail the excesses of terrorism, your office rather than that of a state governor is empowered by law to initiate and sign an international deal with any country.”