• Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Nigeria’s continental shelf expansion by UN grants access to underwater wealth


The United Nations has approved Nigeria extending the nation’s continental shelf from 200 nautical miles to 220 nautical miles.

Adnan Rashid Nasser Al-Azri, chairman of the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), disclosed the development in response to 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.

Bashir Jamoh, director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), applauded the decision by the United Nations to approve a request for the extension of Nigeria’s maritime territory beyond the standard 200 nautical miles from the country’s coast.

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He said this coincides with the creation of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy by President Bola Tinubu, which will boost the Nigerian maritime sector.

Jamoh disclosed that this extension of the nation’s maritime area has the potential to bring economic benefits to the country.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time the United Nations has approved additional maritime territory for Nigeria. We welcome this development, as it would boost our economic fortunes considerably. It is a plus for the Tinubu-led administration, and I extend my congratulations to Adegboyega Oyetola, Minister of Marine and Blue Economy.

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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 continental margin’s outer edge.

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.