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Ocean Law Reform: A Multi-Level Comparative Law Analysis of Nigerian Maritime Zone Legislation
Articles, Book Chapters, & Popular Press
  • Aldo Chircop, Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law
  • David Dzidzornu, Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law
  • Chidi Oguamanam, University of Ottawa
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Ocean law reform,
  • Maritime zone legislation,
  • Maritime Zones Act,
  • UN LOS Convention,
  • Comparative approach,
  • Nigeria,
  • West Africa

Recently, Nigeria introduced a Bill in the House and Senate that aims at modernizing its maritime zone legislation to enable it to maximize benefits it has received from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982. Although Nigeria has been a party to the Convention for many years, the legislative initiative was triggered only recently by a mixture of events, including a submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and the delimitation of maritime boundaries and adoption of joint development zones with neighboring States, including the implementation of a judgment of the International Court of Justice. This article discusses how a comparative law approach to law reform was used by benchmarking Nigeria's legislative initiative against its treaty rights and obligations and the maritime legislation of selected States in the region and elsewhere. The regional spread of the comparator jurisdictions is important, as are the impacts of national socio-economic circumstances and constitutional and political structure on the character and philosophy of legislative drafting and the prospects of its effective enforcement. The analysis identifies that the Nigeria reform stands to influence and encourage similar legislative changes among the East and West African regional seas littorals, thereby to likely enhance cooperative governance and regulation of ocean use in both regions.


This is a pre-print of an article published in Marine Policy. The final publication can be viewed here:

Publication Abbreviation
Marine Policy
Citation Information
Aldo Chircop, David Dzidzornu & Chidi Oguamanam, "Ocean Law Reform: A Multi-Level Comparative Law Analysis of Nigerian Maritime Zone Legislation" (2016) 67 Marine Policy 60.