Thursday, 15 July 2021 05:47

Oil dispute: Supreme Court grants injunction stopping FG from ceding 17 oil wells to Imo

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Supreme Court on Wednesday restrained the Federal Government and its agencies from ceding 17 oil wells to Imo State.

The oil wells are located in Akri and Mgbede communities where their boundaries are being disputed by the Rivers and Imo State governments.

The order of injunction was granted to stop a purported implementation of the ceding of the oil wells to Imo State pending the determination of a suit brought before the apex court by the Rivers State government.

In a chamber ruling on an ex-parte application argued by Emmanuel Ukala, lawyer to Rivers State, the Supreme Court restrained Attorney General of Federation and Attorney General of Imo State who are the 1st and 2nd defendants from taking any further action on the ownership of the oil wells until the dispute is resolved.

Also barred by the order “from approving, implementing or giving effect in any manner” in a letter from RMAFC office with refence number RMC/O&G/47/1/264, are Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

The apex court has fixed September 21 for the hearing of the substantive suit.

Background

Rivers State government through its Attorney General, had dragged the AGF and the Attorney of Imo State before the Supreme Court over the disputed oil wells.

The plaintiff sought a declaration that the boundary between Rivers and Imo states as delineated in Nigeria’s administrative map 10th, 11th and 12th editions as well as other maps bearing similar delineation “are inaccurate, incorrect and do not represent the legitimate and lawful boundaries between the two states.”

The plaintiff also sought a declaration that as far as the Nigerian administrative map 10, 11 and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations of the boundaries between Rivers and Imo, are unlawful and void, they “cannot be relied on to determine the extent of the territorial governmental jurisdiction of Rivers State”.

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

It 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 formed part of Rivers State.

It said it is only Rivers that is entitled to receive the full allocation of the distributable revenue from the oil well on the basis of the 1390 derivation as contained under Section 196 (2) of the 1999 Constitution.

Rivers, therefore, sought an order of mandatory injunction directing the AGF to calculate, to its satisfaction and refund to it all revenues that have been wrongly attributed 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 of 10th, 11th and 12th editions and to refrain from relying on any of the said maps for the determining the boundary between both states.

Rivers also applied for another order of mandatory injunction directing the AGF to produce administrative map bearing the correct boundaries between Rivers and Imo States and N500 million as cost for the prosecution of its case.

 

PT