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United Nations not carving out new country from Nigeria and Cameroon

A widely shared Facebook post claims the United Nations is about to “help Southern Cameroon independence”, with “24 LGs in Nigeria” to join the new country by 10 July 2020. 

“LGs” are local government areas, of which there are 774 in Nigeria, each with a local government council. Cameroon lies on Nigeria’s eastern border.

The claim was also made in Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper, which reported on 5 June that Cameroonian president Paul Biya had withdrawn soldiers from the country’s south and “set the stage for the creation of the new state being spearheaded by the UN”.

The article said the new country would be known as the “United Nations Organisation State of Cameroon”, or UNO State of Cameroon. 

In another post, the Facebook user says that if “Southern Cameroon is about 2 get their own country … Biafrans should be getting ready”. But is the UN creating a new African country?


‘Entire story fabricated’ – Nigerian govt aide 

Tolu Ogunlesi, the Nigerian president’s aide on digital and new media, rubbished the claim on Twitter

“Been waiting to see @GuardianNigeria take down this fake story about a new country being formed by UN, to which Nigeria will be ceding LGAs,” he tweeted. “Entire story fabricated. Shame on the Guardian.”

Other Nigerian newspapers have also debunked the story, quoting unnamed sources in the UN and the Nigerian government.

Claim debunked by UN, expert

Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the UN secretary general, told Africa Check on email that reports of a new state were false.

“It is up to states to recognise or not recognise other governments. This is not something determined by the UN,” he said.

There is no mention on the UN website or Twitter timeline that the world body is involved in the creation of any new state in Africa. 

We also found no evidence on the website of the UN’s Office for West Africa and the Sahel, which coordinates activities including the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission. The goal of the commission is to “facilitate the implementation of the 10 October 2002 judgment of the International Court of Justice on the Cameroon-Nigeria boundary dispute”.

Prof Saleh Dauda, political science and international relations expert and lecturer at the University of Abuja, told Africa Check that the UN does not have the legal authority to create a new state with any part of a sovereign state. 

He said the creation of a new state required a rigorous procedure, including a referendum and the consent of the government of the country or countries involved. – Allwell Okpi

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