Nigeria Gains Additional Territory Equivalent to Five Times the Size of Lagos

Nigeria Gains Additional Territory Equivalent to Five Times the Size of Lagos

President Bola Tinubu received the report of the High Powered Presidential Committee (HPPC) on Nigeria’s extended continental shelf project yesterday. The project aims to extend Nigeria’s maritime boundaries according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982. The President commended the team of experts who worked diligently to advance the project.

Professor Larry Awosika, a marine scientist and HPPC member, and Surveyor Aliyu Omar, HPPC Secretary, provided technical presentations. They have been involved in the project since Nigeria’s initial submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in 2009. The experts informed the President that the UN approved Nigeria’s submission, granting sovereignty over additional square kilometers of maritime territory.

The approved area for Nigeria is about 16,300 square kilometers, roughly five times the size of Lagos State. The official notification was conveyed to Nigeria by the UN Commission on the limits of the Continental Shelf in August 2023, shortly after President Tinubu assumed office.

Surveyor Omar outlined two options for Nigeria following the approval. The first option is to finalize the registration with the UN Secretary-General, which will take at least one year. The second option is to acquire more data, do a support write-up, and make a revised submission for further consideration, which will take another four years. Either way, Nigeria will retain the approved area.

Professor Awosika explained that the approval came after years of meticulous scientific research and diplomatic efforts. The newly acquired territory has economic potential, including hydrocarbons, gas, solid minerals, and various sedentary species. However, he cautioned against total disclosure of sensitive data acquired during surveys to maintain confidentiality.

President Tinubu thanked the experts for their diligence and emphasized the significance of the achievement for Nigeria’s economic and strategic interests.

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