Nigeria about to acquire more territory in Gulf of Guinea, says Buhari


‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja


Daily Courier – Nigeria is at the verge of extending its territory without “war, litigation or purchase” but with efforts at expanding its maritime territory through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) fully on course.

President Muhammadu Buhari gave this assurance yesterday in Abuja while receiving a progress report from the High-Powered Presidential Committee on Nigeria’s Extended Continental Shelf Project.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President said: “I am looking forward to the day that I can announce to Nigerians that additional maritime territory has been approved for Nigeria by the United Nations Commission on the limits of the continental shelf.”

The President assured the committee, chaired by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), of his full support on Nigeria’s submission to the United Nations for additional maritime area under the recognised international convention.

He hailed the committee for the progress it had made and the dedication it invested in the work within a short time.

President Buhari also assured them of his support to conclude the project in good time.

Underscoring his special interest in the project, the President said: “I have always had special interest in this project right from the first day I heard of it. This is because this type of project, where Nigeria will gain additional territory without conflict, has never happened before in her lifetime.

“I am, therefore, glad that it is happening within our lifetime. This is one of the many reasons I have been ardently following your progress over time.

“It is my intention to support the submission to the United Nations for additional maritime area, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to claim for Nigeria every bit of space that she deserves under UNCLOS.

“It is pleasing to know that most wars that have taken place in the world since time immemorial, including the present times, have always been territorial. Nigeria has this one and only chance to gain territory without war, litigation, or purchase.

“More so when this territory lies within the area dubbed as ‘the Golden Triangle’ in the Gulf of Guinea, which contains unquantifiable resources some of which have not even been discovered.”

Thanking President Buhari for his support to the project, malami said: “I thank you for making this project your pet project, because when it was virtually dead after being dormant for more than 30 months and the Nigerian experts had almost given up on it, you rescued it, and it is where it is today because of you.”

The President listened to an administrative presentation on the project by a surveyor, Aliyu Omar, who is also the Secretary of the Committee, while the technical part was presented by Prof. Lawrence Awosika, a marine geophysicist and former Director at the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research.