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Rivers governor storms Supreme Court in oil well battle with Imo

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Proceedings in the ongoing suit instituted by Rivers State against Imo State over ownership of 17 oil wells were witnessed by Governor Nyesom Wike, who arrived at the Supreme Court complex on Monday for the hearing of the case.

The Court ordered the Federal Government to, within 15 days, file its defence to the suit that the Rivers State Government filed to stop it from ceding 17 disputed oil wells to Imo State.

The Court also directed Imo state to within the same period of days, file and exchange necessary processes with the Plaintiff (Rivers State).

Meanwhile, a seven-man panel of justices of the Court, led by Justice Kekere Ekun, said it would hear the substantive matter, alongside all objections the Defendants have against it.

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The Court, thereafter, adjourned the case to January 17, 2022, for a definite hearing.

Governor Wike, who spent two hours in the courtroom, declined to speak with reporters after the court session.

The panel fixed the new date after the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as 1st defendant and Imo State as 2nd defendant formally regularised the processes filed to counter the claims of Rivers State on the disputed oil wells.

Although the matter was slated for hearing on November 1, the counsel to the AGF, Dr Remi Peter Olatubora, SAN, and Chief Olusola Oke, SAN, for Imo State opted to regularise their new processes after which preliminary hearing was completed.

At the end of the preliminary stage, Justice Kudirat Motomori Kekere Ekun announced January 17, 2022, as the new date to hear the suit.

The Court had on July 14 granted an order of injunction stoping the Federal Government and its agencies from ceding the 17 disputed oil wells located at Akri and Mbede to Imo State.

The order of injunction was granted to stop an alleged implementation of the ceding of the 17 oil wells to Imo State pending the determination of the suit brought before it by the Rivers State Government.

In a chamber ruling by the Supreme Court in an ex parte application argued by Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, the Court had restrained AGF and the Attorney General of Imo State from taking any further action on the ownership of the disputed 17 oil wells till the ownership disputes surrounding them are resolved.

The Court also barred the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and the Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation from approving, implementing, or giving effect in any manner to a letter from the RMAFC office, with reference number RMC/O&G/47/1/264 of July 1, 2021, which cancelled the equal sharing of proceeds from the 17 oil wells by Rivers and Imo States.

Rivers State, through its Attorney General, had dragged the AGF and the Attorney General of Imo State before the Supreme Court, praying for a declaration that the boundary between Rivers State and Imo State, as delineated on Nigeria administrative map 10, 11 and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations are inaccurate, incorrect and do not represent the legitimate and lawful boundaries between Rivers and Imo State.

Plaintiff also sought a declaration that as far as Nigeria’s administrative map 10,11 and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations relate to the boundaries between Rivers and Imo, the said maps are unlawful and void, cannot be relied on to determine the extent of the territorial governmental jurisdiction of Rivers State and to determine the revenue accruing to Rivers State from the federation account, including the application of the principle of derivation and other revenue allocation principles as contained in the 1999 Constitution.

It further applied that the Supreme Court declare that the correct instrument maps and documents, to be relied on determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo State, are those used by the plaintiff in delineating the boundary line between Rivers and Imo State.

Plaintiff also sought a declaration that all the oil wells within Akri and Mbede communities are wrongly attributed to Imo State and that they are all oil wells within the territory of Rivers State and form part of Rivers State and that it is only rivers that are entitled to receive the full allocation of the distributable revenue from the oil wells on the basis of the 1390 derivation as contained under section 162 of the 1999 constitution.

Rivers sought an order of mandatory injunction directing the AGF to calculate, to its satisfaction, and refund to it all revenue that has been wrongly attributed to or paid to Imo State on account of the limit or extent of their territories, including earnings due to it from revenue derived from Akri and Mbede oil wells.

The plaintiff also sought an order of Injunction directing the AGF to withdraw from circulation its administrative map 10,11 and 12th editions and to refrain from relying on any of the said maps for the purpose of determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo State.

Rivers also applied for another order of mandatory injunction directing AGF to produce an administrative map bearing the correct boundary between Rivers and Imo State.

A sum of N500,000,000 naira was also sought as the cost of prosecuting the case.

-Sun

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Posted by on Nov 2 2021. Filed under Governors, Headlines, Judiciary, Oil Politics, Rivers, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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