It lies between the Cross River estuary, near the city of Calabar in the west of the Bight of Biafra, and the Rio del Ray estuary on the east.

It is governed by Cameroon, following the transfer of sovereignty from neighbouring Nigeria as a result of a judgment by the International Court of Justice.

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This enabled the British Empire to exercise control over the entire territory around Calabar, including Bakassi.

The territory subsequently became de facto part of Nigeria, although the border was never permanently delineated.

However, documents released by the Cameroonians, in parity with that of the British and Germans, clearly places Bakassi under Cameroonian Territory as a consequence of colonial era Anglo-German agreements.

After Southern Cameroons voted in 1961 to leave Nigeria and became a part of Cameroon, Bakassi remained under Calabar administration in Nigeria until ICJ judgement of 2002.

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).In October 2012, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation announced it had discovered new oil and gas resources in the Bakassi region.During the Scramble for Africa, Queen Victoria signed a Treaty of Protection with the King and Chiefs of Akwa Akpa, known to Europeans as Old Calabar on 10 September 1884.Chief Richard Akinjide, a former Nigerian Attorney-General and Minister of Justice who had been a leading member of Nigeria's legal team, described the decision as "50% international law and 50% international politics", "blatantly biased and unfair", "a total disaster", and a "complete fraud".The Nigerian newspaper The Guardian went further, declaring that the judgment was "a rape and unforeseen potential international conspiracy against Nigerian territorial integrity and sovereignty" and "part of a Western ploy to foment and perpetuate trouble in Africa".The outcome of the controversy was a de facto Nigerian refusal to withdraw its troops from Bakassi and transfer sovereignty.