Is UN Creating New Country From Nigeria and Cameroon?

VERDICT: False and Misleading

CLAIM:  Several sources online have published reports claiming that the United Nations will, on July 10, 2020, carve out and proclaim a country from Nigeria and Cameroon. 

The new country, the reports claim, will be called the UN Organisation State of Cameroon.

A Guardian Newspaper report claims the arrangement will see Nigeria losing 24 local councils, which were ceded by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to Paul Biya of Cameroon.


FACT

There is no truth in the report as the United Nations does not have the unilateral power to create new countries from existing countries.

The purported UNO State of Cameroon does not meet the requirement, especially the Montevideo Convention, which suggests that no state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another.

The United Nations Office in Nigeria has also denied knowledge of any plan to create a country from Nigeria and Cameroon.

An AIT Live report quoted a UN source who dismissed the report as false, saying the UN does not create countries.

Also refuting the story, Mr. Dahiru Bobbo, former director-general of the National Boundary Commission, said there is no truth in the report.

He told Francis Okoye of the Leadership Newspaper that: “As far as I am concerned as the director-general of the National Boundary Commission of Nigeria from 1999 to 2006, I can confirm that there was never a summit between Obasanjo and Biya throughout 2003’’.

“Therefore, there could have been no agreement, treaty, communique, or any other bilateral exchange of documents between Cameroon and Nigeria on cessation of territories to the UN or to anybody for that matter, ” Bobbo said.

He said there were two summits attended by Obasanjo and Biya and that the communique issued on the two occasions were in respect of the establishment of a Cameroon Nigerian Mixed Commission.

Bobby added that commission would be established on the implementation of the decisions of the International Court of justice at the Hague (The World Court) on the Bakassi Peninsula and the Land Boundary between Nigeria and Cameroon.

“The mixed commission of which I was a member and secretary handled the assignment and handed over territories to both Cameroon and Nigeria as ruled by the World Court, including Dambore, Narki (Borno), and Burha Vango (Adamawa to Nigeria and  Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon.

Furthermore, there is no available evidence to show that a new country has applied to become a member of the United Nations according to UN rules, which requires that a letter is written to the secretary-general requesting membership.

The Security Council must refer you to the General Assembly, which must determine by a two-thirds majority that you are a peace-loving state that can carry out the duties of the U.N. Charter.

Further verification by our fact-checkers shows that the claim is based on a misrepresentation of the Greentree Agreement between Nigeria and Cameroon signed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo for Nigeria and Paul Biya for Cameroon over the disputed oil-rich Bakassi peninsula.

The Greentree Agreement was a formal treaty that resolved the Cameroon-Nigeria border dispute that led to violent conflict. Also, on October 10, 2002, International Criminal Justice (ICJ) gave a ruling in favour of Cameroon on the case concerning the Land and Maritime Boundary. This ruling foloowed the suit filed by Cameroon against Nigeria at the ICJ.

What does it take to create a new country?

There are no official international rules, but there are guidelines for separatist groups that want to form a new country.

The Montevideo Convention states that a region must meet four requirements to become a state; a permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and the ability to form relations with other nation-states. The last being the most important, according to scholars in International law.

CONCLUSION

The reports that the UN is carving 24 local councils out of Nigeria to create a new country is false.  

CDD is urging members of the public and even media organisations to verify all information before sharing.