The Concept of Boundary and Indigenous Application in Africa: The Case of the Bakassi Boarder Lines of Cameroon and Nigeria

Mark Bolak Funteh


The notion and function of boundary differed fundamentally in the European and African contexts. In traditional Africa, the concept of an ethnic boundary was expressed in terms of neighbours with whom the particular polity shared a territory and such a boundary was conceived of in terms of a region or a narrow zone fronting the two neighbours marked off by it. Thus, the boundary was the zone where two States were joined together. In other words, African boundaries were usually rooted in ethnic and social contact. But European partition of Africa conceived boundaries as physical separation points. Africans who had become frontiersmen had no immediate knowledge that their lands and kin divided by the boundary were now “foreign”. They did not know that the new boundaries functioned differently from the traditionally familiar ones. They thought the former were only for the white men until they were checked at crossing points. Its impact on their relations with their kin and neighbours made them to create secret routes across the frontiers. But these new borders soon faded in their minds. This paper, therefore, attempts a theoretical approach to the valorization of ethnic rather than international prescript boundaries by the inhabitants of Bakassi, and how their activities challenge the application of international decisions. It concludes by attempting a therapy for such challenges as on the Bakassi borderlines, and of course brings to book the African-border conflict prone paradigm. 


Concept, Boundary, Indigenous Application, Boarder Lines, Bakassi, Cameroon, Nigeria.

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.