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Last Updated: Friday, 19 December, 2003, 15:35 GMT
Nigeria hands Cameroon villages
The neighbours: Nigeria and Cameroon
The step follows a ruling by the ICJ defining the two countries border
Nigeria has handed over 32 border villages to neighbouring Cameroon.

Officials said the move was part of a deal to end a long-standing border dispute between the two countries.

A statement by the National Boundary Commission in Lagos said under an international court ruling, Cameroon also handed over a village to Nigeria.

The affected villages are near Lake Chad, on Nigeria's north-eastern border.

Spirit of 'African unity'

Following the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in October 2002, which also awarded Cameroon the disputed oil-rich Bakassi peninsula, the two countries set up a joint commission to work out issues that would result in an acceptable demarcation of their common territories.

The leader of the Nigerian delegation, Bola Ajibola, expressed his satisfaction at their achievement.

"What we have done is unique in matters that are usually only resolved through wars."

He said that Nigeria would continue to cooperate with Cameroon in the spirit of "African unity" to implement every aspect of the ICJ ruling.

Nigeria's administration, military and police personnel in the 32 villages were withdrawn earlier this week.

No mention was made of any timeframe over when Nigeria might hand over the long-disputed, oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula - the other main land area awarded to Cameroon by the ICJ.

UN mediates in Bakassi dispute
15 Nov 02  |  Africa
Country profile: Cameroon
05 Mar 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Cameroon
04 Mar 03  |  Country profiles

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