Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, has commended the supreme court’s ruling in favour of the state over the disputed 17 oil wells with Imo state.
According to a statement by Kelvin Ebiri, the governor’s spokesperson, Wike said this in Port Harcourt on Friday.
Wike claimed that despite the dispute, the National Boundary Commission (NBC) “did nothing in demarcating the boundaries to establish the proper location and title”.
“It bears repeating that the quest to defend our ownership rights through the courts over the Akiri and Mbede oil wells was not intended to claim victory over Imo or any other state,” Wike said.
“We also deplore the collusive actions of the NBC, which, unfortunately, has become notorious as one of the most corrupt national agencies, which has functioned more in causing confusion than resolving boundary disputes.”
He said instead of allowing NBC to do its work, Emeka Ihedioha, the former Imo governor, rejected the subsisted 50:50 per cent sharing formula and also made ‘provocative claims’ of being exclusive owners of the oil wells.
“To actualised these spurious claims, he (Ihedioha) stealthily wrote a letter dated 9th August 2019 to President Muhammad Buhari and requested for the refund of the sum of N15, 000,000.00 (fifteen billion naira) from Rivers State to Imo State as the backlog of accrued proceeds from the 13% derivation revenue of the said oil wells,” Wike added.
“Acting on Governor Ihedioha’s letter, Mr. President warranted a letter to be written to the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) through his late Chief of Staff, Mr Abba Kyari, to alter the status quo against in favour of Imo State without reference to the subsisting dispute and agreement between the two States.”
Wike added that the Rivers government was surprised by the action because, since 1999, Peter Odili and Achike Udenwa — both former governors of Rivers and Imo — had agreed to a 50:50 per cent sharing of derivative proceeds from those wells.
“Accordingly, we first applied to the Federal High Court, Abuja and among other reliefs, successfully challenged the powers and authority of Mr President to give directives to the RMFAC and or interfere in any manner whatsoever with the distribution of public revenues from the distributable pool account, including the Federation Account,” the governor said.
“In approaching the Supreme Court in this matter, we believed that the dispute between the two states and the contentious issues are such that the Court can judiciously, justly and expeditiously determine with the available facts and supporting evidence, including valid administrative maps, subsisting judgement, and other relevant documents.
“This, we may readily oblige, despite the betrayals and back-stabbing by Emeka Ihedioha, who in spite of the extensive support and goodwill he received from the Government and people of Rivers State to become Governor, led the onslaught and created a wedge between two brotherly States that have been living at peace and in friendship with each other.”
Wike thanked the lawyers who secured the landmark success and announced the conferment of state honours on each of them as distinguished service stars.
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