Nigeria to Exit Oil-Rich Cameroon Bakassi Peninsula by August

Yaounde, Cameroon, March 14, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Nigeria is likely to complete its withdraw from the Bakassi peninsula by August in compliance with an order that attributes the disputed oil-rich piece of land to Cameroon, a Nigerian official said Friday.

A U.N.-led joint Cameroon-Nigerian mission charged with implementing the 2002 verdict has created a map delineating the area, ending decades of squabbles over the oil-rich tongue of land.

"We've virtually handed over everything except a small enclave in Abana, which will be given back to Cameroon by August," Nigeria's Chief Negotiator Prince Bola Ajibola told Dow Jones Newswires.

The 1,000-square-kilometer Bakassi peninsula has been a theater of fighting and diplomatic tension between Cameroon and Nigeria for nearly three decades, leading to scores of military clashes and casualties.

Nigeria wanted a bilateral resolution, but Cameroon declined and took the matter to the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

The ICJ ruled in favor of Cameroon in October 2002. But implementing the verdict required intervention from the U.N., under which the Cameroon-Nigeria mixed commission was formed.

The peninsula was formally ceded to Cameroon in August.

Yaounde, Cameroon, March 14, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)