The Federal Government has welcomed the decision by the United Nations (UN) to extend Nigeria’s continental shelf from 200 nautical miles to 220 nautical miles.
This coincides with the creation of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu which will give a boost to the Nigerian maritime sector.
These were contained in a statement signed by NIMASA Assistant Director, Public Relations, Mr. Edward Osagie and made available to Maritime Bits.
The Chairman, United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLCS), Adnan Rashid Nasser Al-Azri, disclosed the development in a statement regarding Nigeria’s submission.
This approval allows Nigeria to redraw the territorial map of its sovereignty in the Gulf of Guinea, thereby granting the right to exploit the abundant carbon and marine resources believed to be present in the area.
On his part, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency’s (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh applauded the decision by UN to approve a request for the extension of Nigeria’s maritime territory beyond the standard 200 nautical miles from the country’s coast.
While reacting to the development, he disclosed that this extension of the nation’s maritime area has the potential to bring economic benefits to the country.
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time the United Nations has ever approved additional maritime territory for Nigeria. We welcome this development, as it would boost our economic fortunes considerably. It is a plus for the Bola Ahmed Tinubu led administration and I extend my congratulations to our Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola”, he said.
According to the UN, the continental shelf of a coastal state comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin. Also, a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured, where the outer edge of the continental margin does not extend up to that distance.