OrderPaperToday – The Senate on Thursday urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to relent in his efforts to defray outstanding financial commitment for the extension of Nigeria’s Continental Shelf.

This followed a motion moved by Senator George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers) and 32 other senators.

The pretty much detailed motion recalled that on the 7th of May, 2009, Nigeria made a formal submission to the United Nation’s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) stating its intention for an extension of her Continental Shelf from 200 to 350 nautical miles.

350 nautical miles is approximately twice the size of Lagos state.

According to the motion, Nigeria being a coastal state stands to gain a lot of economic and military benefits from the extension being sought, including exclusive rights to explore the natural resources. The natural resources could consist of mineral and other resources of the seabed and subsoil together with living organisms belonging to sedentary species.

Other benefits include improving naval activities and national security both on the sea, the seabed and the airspace, as well as more gains in offshore oil well production.

The motion also stated that the project commenced in 2000 when an Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee was set up and coordinated by the National Boundary Commission (NBC).

It noted that following the country’s submission for an extension, Nigeria created an office in the United Nation with some Nigerian experts trained for that purpose and foreign consultants engaged for overseeing the day to day activities of the project.

Also, President Buhari on the 5th of November 2015, set up a high-powered Presidential Committee chaired by the Attorney General of the Federation for the purpose of a proper follow up to the successful claim of the submission.

But the project had suffered hiccups of funding from the government, prompting President Buhari in 2016 to order for the release of funds which allowed Nigeria to make an amended submission to the UN which made a claim for a bigger area than the submission in 2009.

But since then moves to complete the payments has been stalled.

The motion by Sekibo reminded Buhari that it is “economically unwise for the Federal Government to foot-drag on the Project at this time, as this will also portray Nigeria in a bad light at the UN.”

The Rivers Senator informed that between August and September 2015, the United Nations Commission’s Subcommittee Commission on the Limit of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) met about twelve times in New York for the review of Nigeria’s submission and made certain recommendations that need to be “rigorously” followed up.

Other resolutions approved by the chamber sought for the invitation of the United Nations Resident team and National Boundary Commission to brief the Senate in four weeks on the Status of Nigeria’s claim of her Extended Continental Shelf.

Also, the chamber directed its Committee on States and local governments as well as Marine Transport to diligently follow up activities of the Nigerian Extended Continental Shelf Project and regularly brief the Senate.

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