Bakassi

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Bakassi is the peninsular extension of the African territory of Calabar into the Atlantic Ocean. It is currently ruled by Cameroon following the transfer of sovereignty from neighbouring Nigeria as a result of a judgment by the International Court of Justice.[1] On 22 November 2007, the Nigerian Senate rejected the transfer, since the Green Tree Agreement ceding the area to Cameroon was contrary to Section 12(1) of the 1999 Constitution.[2] Regardless, the territory was formally transferred to Cameroon on August 14, 2008.[3]

Contents

Geography and economy

The peninsula lies roughly between latitudes 4°25' and 5°10'N and longitudes 8°20' and 9°08'E . It consists of a number of low-lying, largely mangrove covered islands covering an area of around 665 km²(257 sq; mi). The population of Bakassi is the subject of some dispute, but is generally put at between 150,000 and 300,000 people.

Bakassi 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. Most of the population make their living through fishing.

The peninsula is commonly described as "oil-rich", though in fact no commercially viable deposits of oil have yet been discovered. However, the area has aroused considerable interest from oil companies in the light of the discovery of rich reserves of high grade crude oil elsewhere in Nigeria. At least eight multinational oil companies have participated in the exploration of the peninsula and its offshore waters.

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