Wednesday, 15 May 2024 04:55

Nigeria secures UN’s approval to expand maritime territory by 5 times the size of Lagos state. Here’s what that means

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President Bola Tinubu has officially received the report from the High Powered Presidential Committee (HPPC) on Nigeria’s Extended Continental Shelf Project. He commended the committee’s experts for their diligent efforts over the years to extend Nigeria’s maritime boundaries under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982.

At a presentation in Abuja, marine scientist Larry Awosika and Committee Secretary Aliyu Omar delivered technical details about the project. Since Nigeria's initial submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in 2009, the team has worked tirelessly to gain approval for extending Nigeria's continental shelf.

The experts informed Tinubu that the UN has now approved Nigeria’s submission, granting the country sovereignty over an additional 16,300 square kilometres of maritime territory—about five times the size of Lagos State.

Omar highlighted that the official notification from the CLCS was received in August 2023, shortly after Tinubu took office. He outlined two options for Nigeria: finalizing registration with the UN Secretary-General, which would take about a year, or gathering more data and making a revised submission, which could extend the process by four years.

Awosika, a professor, detailed the scientific research and diplomatic efforts involved in securing the approval, emphasizing the economic potential of the new territory, including hydrocarbons, gas, solid minerals, and various marine species. He also cautioned against fully disclosing sensitive survey data to protect confidentiality and potential economic benefits.

Tinubu expressed his gratitude to the experts, underscoring the importance of this achievement for Nigeria's economic and strategic interests. He noted the peaceful means by which the additional territory was gained and emphasized the need to explore and capitalize on this new maritime expanse.

"This is a significant achievement for Nigeria," Tinubu remarked, recalling discussions with former President Muhammadu Buhari and other global leaders about the project's importance. He expressed pride in the team's success and reiterated Nigeria's commitment to pursuing the best options for the country's benefit.

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

Ajuri Ngelale

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

May 14, 2024

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