UN Extends Nigeria’s Continental Shelf

The United Nations has approved Nigeria’s request to extend her continental shelf from 200 to 350 nautical miles.

Accordingly, a sub- commission is to be constituted by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) for detailed and technical consideration of the proposal.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), who had made this prayer on behalf of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, had tendered his submission in accordance with Article 3, paragraph 1 (b) of Annex II to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The submission contained data information on the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in accordance with UNCLOS, and scientific and technical guidelines of the CLCS.

LEADERSHIP recalls that the approval is the highpoint of concerted efforts by Nigeria to extend her continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.

The initial submission was made on May 7, 2009 by Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Joy Ogwu, to the United Nations Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) in order to meet the deadline for making such submissions to the United Nations.

Aondoakaa’s submission was made with the inputs of experts, including Dr. Lawrence Awosika, Dr. Galo Carrera Hurtado and Dr. Karl Hinz, two current and a past members of the CLCS .

Before it was made, Nigeria held extensive consultations with neighbouring states in the Gulf of Guinea, in line  with the rules of procedure of the CLCS that has the competence to effect maritime boundary delimitation, which rests with states.

The said submission was also fuelled by a collaboration of several national institutions such as the National Boundary Commission, Nigeria Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence,  Ministry of Justice, and the Federal Survey, among others.