Nigerian Newspapers Coverage On Nigerian – Cameroun Bakkasi Dispute


Background of the Study
Nigerian – Cameroun Boarder dispute was an off-shoot of the indiscriminate partitioning of African by the Europeans. Before the arrival of white man to Africa, Nigeria and Cameroun historically existed as close Neighbours. Therefore, the dispute over Bakassi Peninsula started when the two countries started laying different claims to the oil rich area. However, Bakassi dispute assumed a confrontation dimension with the incessant attacks on Nigerian citizens living in the areas by the Cameroun Gendarme. Also, based on the vested interest of some western countries in exploring the oil in the area, the dispute gained international attention and interest, with France and other western countries supporting Cameroun’s claims to the land.
Nigeria, which was under military regime of both Generals Babangida and Abacha at different time, may not have mustered enough international support on her claim over the land. The dispute over the land became more confrontational during military regime of the late Gen Sani Abacha, who deployed Nigerian troop to occupy the area usually occupied, by the Cameroonian gendarme. The occupation forced Cameroun to file a suit claiming the land at the international court of justice at The Hague. After many years of legal battle, Cameroun won the claim over the land and Nigeria was asked to immediately hand over the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun. This was effected during the civilian administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo under the Green- Tree agreement supervised by the world court and other international bodies. Therefore, the Bakassi dispute attracted a lot media attention, especially, after the world court ruling. This is the trust of this paper.
Statement of the Problem
Did Nigerian Press report on Bakassi Boarder dispute between Nigeria and Cameroun? What was the nature of press reportage on the dispute? To what extent did press reports on the dispute help or mere Nigerian’s chances of claiming the disputed areas? These questions are necessary because the press can play a vital in conflict management and resolution; especially through objective reporting. There are instances where press reports may have to form good evidence in resolving disputes over issues, and land territories.
Investigative and interpretative reporting have provided journalist a good strategy and skill to engage through information seeking and giving in the area of conflict. Hence, Nigerian press was expected to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the dispute between Nigeria and Cameroun, especially, as regards Cameroun claim that area was created to her by gowns administration at weak of Nigerian civil war.
The extent to which the press reports educated, informed or enlightened the citizens on the issued at stake was the thrust of this paper.
Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the paper is to content analyze press reports in Nigeria – Cameroun Bakassi dispute to appreciate the nature and extent of such reportage. In addition to that, the paper will achieve the following objective:
1 Ascertaining the story, sources, types and depth on the Nigeria – Cameroun order dispute
2 Identifying the prominence and directionality of the stories on the dispute.
3 Outlining the content categories of the press reports on the dispute
Research questions
The researcher answered the following questions
RQ1: What are the sources, story, types and depth on Nigeria – Cameroun border dispute?
RQ2: What are the directionality and prominence of the Nigerian press reportage on border dispute?
RQ3: What are the content categorizations of reports on Nigeria – Cameroun border dispute?