The United Nations' world court has ruled in favor of Cameroon - awarding it sovereignty over the long disputed oil-rich Bakassi peninsula.

In its ruling Thursday, the International Court of Justice agreed with Cameroon's argument that the area was part of its territory under an early 20th century treaty between German and British colonial powers in West Africa.

The decision is a defeat for Nigeria which for years has fought Cameroon for control of the region. At stake are major oil reserves believed to lie in the border area, as well as rich fish stocks.

Both nations have troops stationed near the marshy area, located in the Gulf of Guinea. Nigerian troops in the area have been on high alert.

The two countries have clashed violently several times over control of the peninsula, which was never clearly marked during colonial rule. But both nations have promised to respect the court's decision. It cannot be appealed.

Cameroon first requested a world court ruling on the border dispute in 1994.

Dr. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem is the general secretary of the Global Pan-African Movement. From London, he spoke with English to Africa reporter Richard Kotey, before Thursday's announcement, about how the two states should respond to the judgement.