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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 consists of a number of low-lying, largely mangrove covered islands covering an area of around 665 km² (257 sq mi).
Nigeria relied largely on Anglo-German correspondence dating from 1885 as well as treaties between the colonial powers and the indigenous rulers in the area, particularly the 1884 Treaty of Protection.
Cameroon pointed to the Anglo-German treaty of 1913, which defined sphere of control in the region, as well as two agreements signed in the 1970s between Cameroon and Nigeria.
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.
In 1981 the two countries went to the brink of war over Bakassi and another area around Lake Chad, at the other end of the two countries' common border. In response, Cameroon took the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 29 March 1994.
The case was extremely complex, requiring the court to review diplomatic exchanges dating back over 100 years.
The outcome of the controversy was a de facto Nigerian refusal to withdraw its troops from Bakassi and transfer sovereignty.
The Nigerian government did not, however, openly reject the judgment but instead called for an agreement that would provide "peace with honour, with the interest and welfare of our people." The ICJ judgment was backed up by the United Nations, whose charter potentially allowed sanctions or even the use of force to enforce the court's ruling.
The decision was reportedly made by groups of militants including Southern Cameroons under the aegis of Southern Cameroons Peoples Organisation (SCAPO), Bakassi Movement for Self-Determination (BAMOSD), and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
Meanwhile, Biafra Secessionist Organization, Biafra Nations Youth League (BNYL) led by Princewill C Obuka and Ebuta Ogar Takon moved their National Presence to the region after series of warning to Nigeria Government over the plight of the internally displaced natives and the reported killing of remnants in the Peninsula by Cameroon Soldiers, this came amid clashes between Nigeria Troops and Bakassi Strike Force, a Militant Group that rose against the plight of the displaced people, BNYL Leaders were later apprehended in Ikang-Cameroon Boarder Area on 9 November 2016 by Nigeria troops according to the Nigeria Nation Newspaper, but that did not deter the group activities in Bakassi.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan stepped in as a mediator and chaired a tripartite summit with the two countries' presidents on 15 November 2002, which established a commission to facilitate the peaceful implementation of the ICJ's judgement. This has made significant progress, but the process has been complicated by the opposition of Bakassi's inhabitants to being transferred to Cameroon.