Despite Bakassi, Nigeria, Cameroon Relations at Best, Says Ambassador
03 Mar 2013: Chiemelie Ezeobi
Despite the frayed relationship between Nigeria and Cameroon compounded by the disagreement over the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula, the Nigerian Ambassador to Cameroon, Ambassador Hadiza Mustapha, has said that Nigeria is still the highest exporter to the French-speaking country.
THISDAY gathered that Nigeria contributes about 26 percent to Cameroon’s economy, which is about 16 percent higher than the country’s second highest exporter; France which stands at about 12 per cent.
The ambassador made this disclosure during her tour of Nigeria’s flagship Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS Thunder) under the leadership of the Commanding Officer, Captain Adeseye Ayobanjo, who is also the Nigerian Contingent Commander.
She said, “The relationship between Nigeria and Cameroon is not only about Bakassi and I am not saying that it is not important but there are other things to do to help our people. “There are great economic potentials we can only enhance if we maintain peace. On the bilateral level, our relationship is at its best pitch. We need to cooperate with each other and give peace a chance. “
Speaking on Nigeria’s impressive outing at the exercise, the ambassador said, “What the Nigerian Navy is doing is important to the safety of our maritime domain especially at this period of security challenges.
“The exercise will help cooperate and stem the illegalities in our maritime domain. It would also promote our economic activities which cannot thrive if there is no safety on our waters. So, the Nigerian contingent was quite impressive. It is a matter of national pride for us.”
The ship’s company alongside NNS Burutu which was commanded by Captain Aminu Hassan had arrived Doula, Cameroon, last week, as part of this year’s International Maritime Sea Exercise, tagged Obangame Express.
The exercise which is a conflagration of 16 countries including Nigeria, USA, Spain, Belgium, São Tomé and Principe, Netherlands, Espanyol, Gabon, Ghana, Togo, Equatorial Guinea, Congo, Cote D’ivoire, Benin, Brazil and Cameroon, is expected to checkmate maritime illegalities on the Gulf of Guinea.
To boost the efforts of its sister service and the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Services, the Nigerian Airforce Maritime Patrol Aircraft, which was the only one used for the operation, gave the exercise an aerial coverage.
In response, Captain Ayobanjo said Nigeria’s participation in the annual sea exercise would enhance the NN performance of her statutory duty of policing the nation’s maritime environment and the Gulf of Guinea as well as showcase Nigeria’s capability in maritime defence. He said, “We seize collaborative opportunities like this to curb maritime illegalities and this is in line with the strategic guidance of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba.”