NIMASA: UN Redraws Nigeria’s Waterway Sovereignty Request In The Gulf Of Guinea

By Stephen Ubanna

Bashir Jamoh, OFR, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, appears to have scored another major point for the nation’s maritime industry.

 Apart from containing the activities of pirates, sea robbers and other violent crimes in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, which had been recognized by the Leadership of the International Maritime Organisation, IMO , a United Nations, UN,  Maritime agency, and the International Maritime Bureau, IMB, from the office of the International Chamber of Commerce, the NIMASA Chief Executive Officer, CEO, who may have won the heart of  the Leadership of the UN, to attend to the country’s request to redraw its waterway sovereignty  in the Gulf of Guinea had heaved a sigh of relief .


Osagie Edward, an Assistant Director and the maritime agency spokesperson had said that the global body’s decision to attend the country’s  request of extension of the Continental shelf  from 200 Nautical Miles in the Gulf of Guinea region coincides with the creation of the Federal ministry of marine and Blue Economy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and which currently has Adegboyega Oyetola, the immediate past governor of Osun state as the pioneer minister, with a mandate to tap into the ocean abundant resources to earn foreign exchange for the most populous African country.

The argument in both official and unofficial circle was that the nation’s marine and blue economy   has the capacity to contribute 20% to the country’s Gross Domestic product, GDP. Akuta Pius Ukeyima, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, described as an expert in maritime circles, had said that much, noting that with the new ministry which the Lagos state born Nigerian President had created with the intension to diversify and grow the economy, it would achieve its purpose in the next four years   because of the structures that had already been put in place and planned refurbishing of the port infrastructural facilities by the government.

Ahead of 2024, the duo, Jamoh and his NSC,Counterpart, Ukeyima, were said to have been in a close touch and in a tete-te on how inter-agency  collaboration  can enhance  the growth of the nation’s maritime industry.

Jamoh, DG, NIMASA,Ukeyima, ES, NSC in a-tete tete-a-tete for inter agency collaboration ahead of 2024

 The statement by Adnan Rashid Nasser Al-Aziri, Chairman, UN, Commissions on the limits of the Continental Shelf, CLCS, who had given hint of the global body’s decision to extend the nation’s Continental shelf Nautical miles as requested may have given them cause to intensify efforts to ensure the growth of the nation’s maritime sector.

The UN top official was said to have confirmed that’’ the decision  to extend country’s Continental Shelf and nautical miles follows the Nigeria’s  government submission to the world body ‘’to redraw its waterway sovereignty map in the Gulf of Guinea region. At resent the member countries of the Gulf of Guinea region which share boundary  includes Liberia, Cote d’Ivore,  Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Other member countries of the region include   SaoTome and Principe, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African country of Cameroun and Angola.

The Nigerian government may have considered it necessary to make a submission to the UN redraw the country’s   waterway sovereignty   map in the Gulf of Guinea area order to have the exclusive right ‘’to exploit the abundant carbon and marine resources’’ believed ‘’to be present in the area’’ without any challenge from Cameroun or any other member country of the region.

An insider had informed The Values that Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General, had intensified the leg work for Nigeria’s Continental Shelf and Nautical miles expansion with the backing of Presidnt Tinubu and theincumbent minister of marine and and blue economy.

  It was therefore not very surprising why the NIMASA helmsman who could not hide his feelings could beat his chest that at long last the global body has approved Nigeria’s request by extending its Continental Shelf from the present 200 Nautical Miles to 220 Nautical miles.  

Describing the UN approval of the country’s Continental Shelf and nautical miles, Jamoh had declared that ‘’it is a plus for Tinubu’s Administration and Oetola, the Osun state born minister of marine and blue economy’’.  

An elated Jamoh had said that  ‘’the decision  by the UN, to approve the country’s request to increase its Continental Shelf from the present 200 nautical Miles to 220 nautical miles  from the country’s coast was a welcome development because of ‘’the huge under water resources that are I the area’’.

He was emphatic that the extension of the country’s Continental shelf beyond the standard 200 nautical mils from the country’s coast has’’ the potential to bring economic benefits to the country’’.  Hear him: To the best of my knowledge this is the first time the UN, has ever approved additional maritime territory for Nigeria.’’ It will boost the country’s economic fortunes considerably’’, he further remarked.

 Even before Guterres led UN approved Nigeria’s request to extend its nautical miles in the coast of the Gulf of the Guinea, Oyetola,   the minister of marine and blue economy had said   that the ministry is pursuing its goal of generating the north American country of the United States   20 billion dollars on a yearly basis based on the country’s 200 nautical miles.

The former Osun state governor had said that that the ministry under his Leadership was working round the clock toward creating two million jobs   on a yearly basis as well through strategic development within the sector in the next four years of Tinubu’s Administration.   

Oyetola,  who had repeated told those that cares to listen including industry stakeholders  at every forum  Both within and outside the country  that his plan  was  ‘’to transform  the Marine and Blue Economy  into a significant  contributor  to the nation’s economy  may have informed why he had made the foursome of Jamoh, NIMASA, Mohammed Bello-koko, Nigerian Ports Authority, Ukeyima, NSC and Bola Oyebamiji, of the Nigerian Inland Water Ways Authority, NIWA, to sign a performance bond with him, just as he and other ministers had signed a similar bond with President Tinubu.

Although , the marine and blue economy had said that his ministry  had set a target of $20 billion revenue generation annually, which is more than the revenue generated from the country’s oil and gas sector of the economy annually, but maritime  experts had said that   the untapped potential  with the country’s waters and the 200 Nautical miles within the coast of Guinea   is estimated   to be a staggering  $296 billion which may be more with the UN approval of the extension of the country’s Nautical miles by an additional 20 nautical miles , thus bringing the country’s waterway map in the Gulf of Guinea to 220  nautical miles, meaning more ocean resources for Nigeria to exploit in the region.

In appreciating the UN’s gesture to extend the country’s Continental Shelf and nautical miles as requested by the Nigerian government  may have informed why the minister of Marine and Blue Economy who may have spoken the mind of the Nigerian President  that the Federal Government has welcomed the decision  of the UN, to extend  the country’s Continental Shelf   from 200 to 220 nautical miles and is committed  to driving  forward  policies  and initiatives  that are aimed  at unlocking  the latent ocean resources . 

Going by the UN reports,  the Continental  Shelf of coastal states including that of Nigeria and other members of the Guinea region comprises ‘’the seabed  and subsoil  of the marine areas’’  that extend beyond its waterway sovereignty  without  the natural  prolongation  of its land  territory  to the other edge of the Continental margin.  

Note that ‘’a distance of 200 nautical miles from the coastlines from which the breadth of the territorial area  is measured, where the outer edge  of the Continental margin does not  extend  up to that distance’’  to avoid territorial conflict.   


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