The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill which would protect Nigerian blue economy and set out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas should be carried out.
The passage of the bill followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters at the plenary.
The Committee Chairman, Michael Bamidele, who presented the report, said the bill sought to streamline all national laws in line with global best practices and provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
He noted that Nigeria has vast resources in the ocean, which included oil and gas, fish and fisheries resources, minerals, placer deposits, salt, renewable energy resources amongst others, hence the need for such legislation.
Bamidele stated that stakeholders at a public hearing on the bill posited that the territorial sea, in addition to the internal waters, was a zone within which Nigeria had sovereignty.
The chairman noted that recent events with neighbouring states had brought to the fore, the seeming shortcomings of Nigeria’s policy on the ocean, which was not consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
He said: “These obvious shortcomings have made it imperative for us to review our maritime zone legislation, and the underlying policy to enable Nigeria to advance its argument for the ‘Extended Continental Shelf’ claim and effective management of the coastal and ocean environment.”