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Nigeria Expands Maritime Boundaries

Nigeria Expands Maritime Boundaries

Nigeria Expands Maritime Boundaries

By Ayshatu S. Rabo 

President Bola Tinubu has received the comprehensive report of the High Powered Presidential Committee (HPPC) on Nigeria’s Extended Continental Shelf Project, marking a significant milestone in the country’s maritime history.

The project, aimed at extending Nigeria’s maritime boundaries in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, has resulted in Nigeria gaining sovereignty over additional square kilometers of maritime territory.

Expressing his appreciation in Abuja on Tuesday, President Tinubu commended the dedication and expertise of the committee members, who have worked tirelessly over the years to advance the project. The President listened to technical presentations by Professor Larry Awosika, a marine scientist and committee member, and Surveyor Aliyu Omar, Secretary of the HPPC.

According to Surveyor Omar, the United Nations has approved Nigeria’s submission, granting sovereignty over an additional 16,300 square kilometers of maritime territory, which is approximately five times the size of Lagos State. This approval, received in August 2023, underscores Nigeria’s legal rights over a vast expanse of seabed and subsoil beyond its traditional territorial waters.

Surveyor Omar outlined two available options for Nigeria following the approval: to finalise the registration with the UN Secretary-General and close the process, or to acquire more data, make a revised submission, and seek further consideration from the UN. Regardless of the option chosen, Nigeria will retain the territory already approved.

Professor Awosika highlighted the economic potential of the newly acquired territory, including hydrocarbons, gas, solid minerals, and diverse marine species. He emphasised the importance of confidentiality in handling sensitive data acquired during surveys to maximise Nigeria’s economic gains.

In his remarks, President Tinubu expressed gratitude for the achievement, emphasising its significance for Nigeria’s economic and strategic interests. He commended the committee for their efforts in securing additional territory for Nigeria without resorting to conflict, highlighting the importance of collaboration with other nations within economic and maritime boundaries.

The meeting was attended by Ambassador Hassan Tukur, Chairman of the HPPC; Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief of Staff to the President; and Adegboyega Oyetola, Minister of Marine and Blue Economy.

Nigeria Expands Maritime Boundaries

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