Nigeria: October 21, 2002


: Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo moved to squelch mounting speculations that his country would go to war with Cameroon over the disputed oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula and insisted that the nation would rather pursue a peaceful resolution to the issue. Obasanjo told the delegation of Community Development Committees from the oil-producing states that government would soon issue a comprehensive statement on the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands. 

The ICJ ruled on 10 October, basing its decision on a document between colonial powers Britain and Germany (the Anglo-German Agreement of 11 March 1913: Arts. XVIII-XX). Since the ICJ decision, there have been repeated calls within Nigeria for the Federal Government to ignore the verdict. This may present another problem for France.

Elf Petroleum Nigeria Limited, the local subsidiary of French oil giant TotalFinaElf, had facilities in both countries and was naturally worried about the security implications. Elf, along with US oil giant ExxonMobil, are major operators in Nigeria and Cameroon but both have larger assets in Nigeria that Cameroon: Mobil at over 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) is Nigeria's second largest oil producer and Elf at 150,000 bpd is Nigeria's fifth. Cameroon's total production is 90,000 bpd. But the two oil firms, along with three other Nigerian oil operators (Addax, Moni Pulo and Oriental Energy) have their operating fields located close to the disputed area. - Adam Geibel

Thirteen men were arrested for the murder of the justice minister last year. Many of the suspects are junior politicians or relatives of politicians in Oyo state. This makes Justice Minister Bola Ige's killing yet another bit of political infighting.


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