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Bakassi

Bakassi, the peninsula extension of the African territory of Calabar into the Atlantic Ocean, lies roughly between latitudes 425' and 510' north of the equator, and longitudes 820' and 908' east of Greenwich meridian. It is situated at the extreme eastern end of the Gulf of Guinea, where the warm east-flowing Guinea Current (called Aya Efiat in Efik) meets the cold north-flowing Benguela Current (called Aya Ubenekang in Efik).

These two great ocean currents interact creating huge foamy breakers which constantly advance towards the shore, and building submarine shoals rich in fish, shrimps, and an amazing variety of other marine life forms. This makes the Bakassi area a very fertile fishing ground, comparable only to Newfoundland in North America and Scandinavia in Western Europe.

Bakassi was founded around 1450 AD by the Efik, and within the political framework of the Kingdom of Old Calabar. It is therefore owned and inhabited by the Efik, one of the tribes of the Negro Race of West Africa. During the European scramble for Africa, Queen Victoria signed a Treaty of Protection with the King and Chiefs of Old Calabar on September 10, 1884; and this enabled Great Britain to exercise control over the entire territory of Old Calabar, including Bakassi.

Rich reserves of high grade crude oil have been discovered in Bakassi; and at least eight multinational oil companies have contended with the exploration and exploitation of this all important resource. Cameroon and Nigeria bitterly contested political authority over Bakassi. On March 29, 1994 Cameroon filed an application at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague in the Netherlands, praying the World Court to declare that sovereignty over Bakassi belongs to Cameroon. On October 10, 2002, the court supported Cameroon and granted it sovereignty, citing agreements from colonial times about the border.

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