One time governorship aspirant in Katsina state, Dr Usman Bugaje has advised the oil mineral producing states of Nigeria to stop claiming ownership of the oil resources in Nigeria in the interest of peace and progress of the country

Bugaje said the oil resources in the south-south states, indeed belong to Nigeria, stressing that the north, on a rational note, has more right to lay claims to the oil resources in any part of Nigeria, most especially on the continental shelf, considering its landmass and given extant laws, both the local and international.

Bugaje who Special Adviser on Political Matters to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar during the regime of President Olusegun Obasanjo said it is more advisable for Nigeria in general to start looking beyond oil resources as a means of survival because the resources has started losing relevance and value world wide.

Speaking with Newspot Nigeria, the Katsina born politician said his earlier remarks on ownership of oil and gas resources in Nigeria widely circulated in the social media was misconstrued.

He said what he meant was that the constitution of Nigeria as well as the United Nations Conventions on Oil and Gas resources have made it clear that no particular community can claim ownership of oil resources, but the state.

Citing section 44 (3) of the Nigerian constitution, Second Schedue Legislative Power, the Exclusive Legislative List, 39 and the United Nations Convention to buttress his argument, Bugaje said in terms of landmass, the north should lay claims to ownership of oil resources in the south-south.

He said, "A key procedure is that the determination of the boundaries of countries in the sea is a measure of the landmass of the countries involved. A country with bigger landmass will have more mileage into the sea.

"It is in this context that we make the logical point that to the extent that over 78% of the landmass of Nigeria is the North, to that extent if any part of the country should lay claim to the exclusive ownership of the Natural resources in the sea, then the North has more rights to do so"

"Our national debates and constitutional conferences have been dominated by wealth ownership and sharing instead of wealth creation and development. Strange lexicons have emerged like the "oil producing States", which are not supported by our laws or our constitution. Our constitution has left us in no doubt that the only oil producing State is the Nigerian Sate itself.

"The regrettable centrality of oil and gas in our economy and absence of imagination and creativity in our political leadership has meant that this debate would drag on for some time. Below are some (not all) of the constitutional provisions and relevant laws should clarify and rest the matter.

Below is excerpts from Bugaje's Position On Oil Resources In Nigeria

Section 44(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended provides:

''Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the entire property in and control of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gas in, under or upon any land in Nigeria or in, under or upon the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria shall vest in the Government of the Federation and shall be managed in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly''.

Second Schedule, Legislative Powers, Part 1, Exclusive Legislative List, 39.

"Mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas."

The provisions of the Petroleum Act CAP 350 LFN 2004 also provides:

Section 1 (1) ''The entire ownership of control of all petroleum in, under or upon any lands to which this section applies shall be vested in the State".

Section 1(2) ''This section applies to all land (including land covered by water) which

(a) is in Nigeria

(b) is under the territorial waters in Nigeria

(c) forms part of the continental shelf

Thus the ownership and control of resources is vested in the Federal Government of Nigeria.


Where oil and gas fields are located in the offshore as a great majority of our oil and gas fields are today the matter should be even easier. Not only because no one lives in the sea but also because the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea UNCLOS has made it very clear.

Under the UNCLOS, every sovereign state is entitled to and Exclusive Economic Zone EEZ of 200 nautical miles into the ocean. Section x article 57, says "

  1. Article 57, UNCLOS – This limits the area of the EEZ of a state/coastal state from 200 nautical miles from the breath of its territorial waters.
    Article 74(4) – It states that where there is a special agreement between two states as what constitutes the total size of their exclusive economic zones, their agreements would apply. This means that notwithstanding the limitation of 200 nautical miles as stipulated in Article 57, the EEZ can vary according to the size of the state in question if it is an agreement with adjacent, opposite or neighboring state to specially designate its EEZ.



Article 2

Legal status of the territorial sea, of the air space over the territorial sea and of its bed and subsoil

  1. The sovereignty of a coastal State extends, beyond its land territory and internal waters and, in the case of an archipelagic State, its archipelagic waters, to an adjacent belt of sea, described as the territorial sea.
  2. This sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as to its bed and subsoil.
  3. The sovereignty over the territorial sea is exercised subject to this Convention and to other rules of international law.



Article 3

Breadth of the territorial sea

Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.

Article 4

Outer limit of the territorial sea

The outer limit of the territorial sea is the line every point of which is at a distance from the nearest point of the baseline equal to the breadth of the territorial sea.

Article 5

Normal baseline

Except where otherwise provided in this Convention, the normal baseline for measuring the breadth of the territorial sea is the low-water line along the coast as marked on large-scale charts officially recognized by the coastal State.

Article 6


In the case of islands situated on atolls or of islands having fringing reefs, the baseline for measuring the breadth of the territorial sea is the seaward low-water line of the reef, as shown by the appropriate symbol on charts officially recognized by the coastal State.

Article 74

Delimitation of the exclusive economic zone between States with opposite or adjacent coasts

  1. The delimitation of the exclusive economic zone between States with opposite or adjacent coasts shall be effected by agreement on the basis of international law, as referred to in Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, in order to achieve an equitable solution.
  2. If no agreement can be reached within a reasonable period of time, the States concerned shall resort to the procedures provided for in Part XV.



Article 76

Definition of the continental shelf

  1. The continental shelf of a coastal State comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin, or to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured where the outer edge of the continental margin does not extend up to that distance.
  2. The continental shelf of a coastal State shall not extend beyond the limits provided for in paragraphs 4 to 6.
  3. The continental margin comprises the submerged prolongation of the land mass of the coastal State, and consists of the seabed and subsoil of the shelf, the slope and the rise. It does not include the deep ocean floor with its oceanic ridges or the subsoil thereof.