Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 June 2005
The decision of the Nigerian Supreme Court in the case of the Attorney General of the Federation v. the Attorney General of Abia State & 35 Ors. was delivered on 5 April, 2002 in respect of the proviso to section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which incorporates what is popularly known in Nigeria as the “derivation formula”. It brought to the forefront the need to determine (especially as regards revenue derived from the oil and gas resources) whether the offshore bed of the territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Nigeria should be regarded as part of the littoral states of the federation or not? This article critically examines the decision of the Supreme Court as it relates to the “ownership” of the offshore seabed as between the federal Government and the littoral states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.