[JURIST] Nigeria officially turned over the entirety of the disputed Bakassi peninsula [UN backgrounder] to neighboring Cameroon on Thursday, in compliance with a 2002 International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling [ICJ materials]. Basing its ruling on an old colonial agreement between England and Germany, the ICJ had ruled that the territory and its oil reserves should be handed over to Cameroon. Implementation of the ICJ ruling was handled by a special UN-appointed commission [UN backgrounder], under which a withdrawal was eventually negotiated. Although the Nigerian military withdrew from the northern part of the peninsula [JURIST report] in 2006, the countries had agreed that rest of Bakassi would remain under Nigerian civilian control for two more years. BBC New has more. AFP has additional coverage.
Most residents of Bakassi were Nigerian fishermen, most of whom have had to leave the peninsula to be resettled elsewhere in the country. Many have criticized government resettlement efforts, which set aside landlocked areas to house the displaced fishermen, as destroying their way of life. Nigeria and Cameroon's dispute over the territory [backgrounder] had let to violent conflicts between 1981 and 1994.