By AYO OLAYIWOLA
There are indications that the Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Boundary Commission has gotten approval to extend its Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ, from 200 Nautical Miles to 350 Nautical Miles.
The benefit of this extension is that all ships coming through the extended area must come under Nigeria’s authority, and she is going to be in control of all mineral exploitations and fisheries resources.
Reports say that the international boundaries include Nigeria/Niger, Nigeria/Benin, Nigeria/Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria/Sao Tome and Principe, and Nigeria/Cameroon.
Former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Barr Temisan Omatseye dropped the hint on Thursday at a Breakfast Meeting on Fishing and Fisheries, organized by Zoe Maritime Resources Limited, in Lagos.
Omatseye said that with the new extension, there is a whole larger area to cover now and that there is need to have a satellite coverage of the nation’s waters.
He added that with the extra 150 miles additional space, there must be a deliberate effort to cover the waters by satellite.
He explained that foreigners come into Nigeria with their trawler factories and cart away juveniles and adult fishes thereby damaging the nation’s aquatic lives and resources to economic misfortune of Nigeria.
He said: “There is a need for us to have a total satellite coverage of our waters, it is absolutely imperative.
“The problem we have right now is that Nigeria has extended its Exclusive Economic Zone from 200 Nautical Miles to 350 Nautical Miles.
“What is happening right now is that these foreigners have their trawler factories coming to Nigeria and they are doing a sweep of Nigerian waters and we know who they are.
“They are Japanese, Chinese and Europeans and they are using illegal nets to catch all our small fishes and all the fishes and shrimps caught around waters in the West African sub-region are termed as Nigerian quota in the international market.”
The National Boundary Commission had in 2010 disclosed its plans to extend Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by 150 nautical miles.
The agency at that time said the extention would, however, be subject to UN’s approval.