The IYC says the derivation principle which recognizes the oil bearing states as owners of the resources was based on equity and fairness.
The Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, on Wednesday criticized comments credited to a member of the Northern Elders Forum, Usman Bugaje, at a meeting sequel to proposed National Conference.
Mr. Bugaje, at the meeting which held on Tuesday, allegedly said that under a United Nations, UN, law the oil resources in the Niger Delta are owned by the North. He was alleged to have said that offshore territorial boundary was determined by land mass which the North has 72 per cent of.
In its reaction, the IYC described the views allegedly canvassed by Mr. Bugage as provocative, false and misleading.
In a statement issued on Wednesday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, the spokesperson of the IYC, Eric Omare, said the claim by Mr. Bugage was baseless and deceitful, saying the land mass of a
country is not a consideration in determining its maritime boundary.
“Dr. Usman Bugaje’s statement is reckless, provocative, baseless, misleading and displays the highest level of ignorance. It is disappointing that such a statement could come from a Northern elite such as Dr. Usman Bugaje. To the IYC, such a misleading statement coming from an elite such as Dr. Bugaje brings to the fore the reason behind most of barbaric acts coming from that part of the country.
“Contrary to Usman Bugaje’s assertion, the IYC wish to state that there is no United Nations Law which states that the maritime boundary of a country is determined by the land mass of the country.
“For the records, there is nowhere in Articles 3, 5, 57 and 76 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) where it is stated that the landmass of a coastal state determines its mileage into the sea or its maritime boundary.
“The United Nations Law of the Sea which is the primary law which determines the maritime boundary of coastal states defines the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf to be up to 200 nautical lines measured from its baseline which is the low water mark along the coast.
“Hence, the land mass of a country is not a consideration in determining its maritime boundary.
“Therefore, Dr. Bugaje’s statement is a deliberate ploy to mislead his northern brothers to prepare the ground to oppose the legitimate demand of the Niger Delta people to control their resources at the forthcoming National Conference, stated.
The IYC maintained that the derivation principle which recognizes the oil bearing states as owners of the resources was based on equity and fairness.