One of the lead speakers at the Northern Leaders’ Conference, Usman Bugaje, has raised a controversial issue on the ownership of Nigeria’s crude oil domiciled majorly in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, it is wrong for any state to claim that it is oil producing because 72% of the total land mass in the country belonged to the North and that by the United Nation’s law; it is only the North that actually has the right to claim ownership.
Dr. Bugaje, in his presentation, insisted that “there are no oil producing states.” He argued that “the only oil producing state is the Nigerian state itself.”
He explained, “Whatever mileage you get in the sea, according to the United Nations Law of the sea, is a measure of the land mass that you have; that is what gives you the mileage into the sea…and the land mass of this country, that gives that long 200 nautical miles or more into the ocean, is because of that 72% of the land mass of this country, which is the North.”
To buttress his argument, Dr. Bugaje also said, “The investment came from the Nigerian state and the territory belongs to the Nigerian state.”
He further maintained, “What they claim is the off shore oil is actually the oil of the North” contending that “we should stop using these terms that have no sense at all. There are no oil producing states.”