*Receives Secretary General of International Seabed Authority at Presidential Villa

As the International Seabed Authority reviews regulations governing mineral-related activities in the international seabed area, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN is advocating for the protection of Africa from economic exploitation, and adverse agreements in that global sector.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this in his remarks when a delegation from the International Seabed Authority (ISA), led by its Secretary General, Mr Michael Lodge, paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday.

The ISA is an autonomous international organization established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The ISA leadership is in Nigeria for an international workshop on international deep seabed resources.

According to the Vice President “as the regulations are being negotiated, ways by which our countries can be protected from economic exploitation and from adverse agreements and terms, must be the focus, especially because very frequently the technical skills that are required and the technology are almost invariably imported.

“This is something that I hope you will pay some attention to as you develop regulations around the industry,” the VP noted.

Speaking on the significance of the ongoing ISA meeting in Abuja, Prof. Osinbajo said “the conference will help us a great deal to focus our minds on paying more attention to what we are trying to do on the deep blue project. We have spent a fair amount of time trying to conceptualize our interventions in the Blue Economy.”

He said the Federal Government is persuaded about the need “for us to pay far more attention to the Blue Economy, not just from the point of view of protection of the Gulf of Guinea and all of the other issues, but more from the point of view of economic exploitation of mineral resources, very critical mineral resources that are in our sea bed.”

Prof. Osinbajo expressed satisfaction with the participation of the Government in the activities of the ISA, noting that “I am happy that we (Nigeria) are important contributors to ISA and that it is very well represented and that Africa is the focus given the fact that it has not had that much of contribution in seabed exploration.”

As Africans, he continued, “we need to pay more attention to technology, how to do this more ourselves, because, clearly, one of the problems we found partly with some of the IOCs is that they are not able to negotiate the very best terms especially given the nature of offshore exploration.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Secretary General of ISA, Mr Lodge expressed gratitude to the Nigerian government for hosting its workshop in Abuja and commended the country’s long-standing support to the organization spanning over two decades.

Mr Lodge urged Nigeria and all Africans to explore the unlimited resources in the seabed, noting that “the development of this new industry (blue economy) will be key and crucial to energy transition.”

He also emphasized the need for Africa to be represented in the development of deep-sea minerals which is crucial for the future of the continent’s blue economy.

On her part, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Jamaica and Permanent Representative to the ISA, Amb. Maureen Tamuno said Nigeria’s active participation in the activities of the ISA is indicative of the country’s readiness to leverage the vast opportunities in the blue economy.

The visiting ISA Secretary General was accompanied on the visit to the Presidential Villa by the Director General of the National Boundary Commission, Mr Adamu Adaji, among other officials.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
6th October 2022