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“C/River will no longer tolerate ceding of its land to Cameroon” – Gov. Otu

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Gov. Bassey Otu

Gov. Bassey Otu of Cross River assured on Monday that no part of the state would be ceded to Cameroon any longer.

Otu made the declaration at a public hearing organised by an ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives.

The committee is investigating a land tussle between Danare community in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River and Biajua community, split between Cross River and Cameroon.

Following on a 2002 judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Nigeria began the ceding of parts of the Bakassi Peninsula in Cross River to Cameroon in 2006.

The territory was completely ceded to Cameroon on Aug. 14 2008, exactly two years after the first part of it was transferred.

Mr Emmanuel Ironbar, Chief of Staff to Gov. Otu, who represented the governor at the public hearing said the state was still nursing the consequences of the loss of Bakassi and its 76 oil wells to Cameroun.

He said Cross River believed that the issue could be revisited.

He urged the committee to invite relevant stakeholders involved in the loss of the oil-rich peninsula so as to get to the root of the matter.

“I commend the House of Representatives for setting up the ad-hoc committee to investigate the disputed borders in Danare and Biajua communities.

“The visitation of the committee members to the disputed pillars 113 and 114 in Boki communities is a welcome development and will help you to put up painstaking reports.

“Let it be known that Cross River will no longer allow any part of its lands to be ceded to Cameroon in the name of implementing the 2002 judgment of the ICJ,’’ the governor’s representative said.

Addressing stakeholders at the public hearing, Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Hon. Beni Lar, said the House passed a resolution on July 5 to investigate the circumstances leading to the boundary dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon.

He said the essence was to unravel the circumstances leading to the non-traceability and displacement of an important international pillar – 113A in the demarcation of the boundary between Nigeria and the Cameroon.

He maintained that border demarcation pillars along the Biajua and Danare axis of Boki Local Government Area of Cross River went as far as Sina area in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa.

In their submissions, leaders of Danare and Biajua communities led by a former legislator, Mr Cletus Obung, said Federal Government’s attitude over the matter had not been encouraging.

“In spite of pleas to the Nigerian government to make strong statements and ensure that the contentious Pillar 113A is found and restored, its attitude has not been encouraging.

“The Nigerian government has not made a strong statement to intervene in the situation and prevent our communities from being ceded to the republic of Cameroon; this is disappointing,’’ he noted.

After the ceding of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon in 2008, its indigenes have yet to be properly resettled in Cross River.

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Job Losses, Factory Closures Loom As Unsold Goods Pile Up — MAN

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AGAINST the backdrop of sustained pressure in the foreign exchange market and high cost of production, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN has indicated that inventory of unsold goods is escalating to levels now threatening the existence of companies operating in the production sector of the economy with attendant job losses.

Findings show that as of the weekend the foreign exchange market had recorded over 254 per cent plunge in the value of the naira since flotation of the currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023.

Recall that the naira traded for N471 per dollar in the official I&E market on June 13, 2023 before the floatation of the currency, but exchanged for N1,665.50 to a dollar as at February 23, 2024 on the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), indicating a depreciation of more than 253.6 per cent over the eight-month period. The forex crisis is also stoking inflation, and coupled with high energy costs, purchasing power has continued plummet, stifling demand for goods.

Speaking on the impact of this development on the manufacturing sector, Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said: “There are reports that across the board, many warehouses and plants of many manufacturing firms are stockpiled with unsold goods manufactured last year. “The development is as a result of the devastating effects of the exchange rate crisis, inflation, fake and sub-standard goods, smuggling and other macro-economics challenges.”

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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