Soku oil wells: Bayelsa drags Rivers to Appeal Court

Soku oil wells: Bayelsa drags Rivers to Appeal Court

Monday, January 13, 2020 5:29 pm

Dickson and Wike: Fighting over oil bloc

…Asks for stay of Execution of  High Court judgment 
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The dispute of over the ownership of Soku oil wells is not yet over as the Bayelsa State has appealed the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which ceded the disputed oil wells to Rivers State.
Solicitor General of Bayelsa State, Mreye Agada, who led the state’s legal team to file the appeal on behalf of the State Attorney General, said that the state is seeking a stay of execution of the judgement pending the resolution of the matter.
Agada noted that the lower court delivered judgement against the state without joining it as a party in the suit.
In the motion on notice in the suit no FHC/ABJ/ CS/984/2019, he said that Bayelsa State was not served the processes in the suit before the lower court delivered the said judgement.
He also said that the state government had also sought an order of the court to appeal the judgement as an interested party in the suit between Attorney General of Rivers State and National Boundaries Commission (NBC).
The Solicitor General said that Bayelsa State has written all relevant federal agencies and officials to stay action on the enforcement of the judgement.
According to him, those who have received the letter include the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Minister of Finance, the Accountant General of the Federation, the Chairman, Revenue Mobilization Al- location and Fiscal Commission, and the National Boundary Commission.
He stated further that the contested oil wells, which Rivers State describes as Soku oil wells, are in Oluasiri in Bayelsa State, adding that Bayelsa had been receiving the 13 per cent derivation and other statutory allocations accruing from the oil wells for a long time.
He added that Bayelsa State Government had been waiting for Rivers State and the National Boundaries Commission to cooperate with the Supreme Court directive to properly delineate the disputed areas in the affected areas once and for all.
The Solicitor General said that it was rather regrettable that Rivers State Government, which pulled out of the boundary delineation exercise in 2013, surreptitiously filed the action after years of inactivity.
Agada appealed to the people of the affected communities who are all Ijaw people to await proper delineation of the boundaries between the people which, he said, did not have any effect on the historical ties and relationship between them.
Justice Inyang Ekwo had, on December 16, 2019, declared Rivers State as the owner of the disputed Soku Oil Wells/Fields located in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The decision of the court was premised on a suit marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/984/19 filed by the Attorney- General of Rivers State against the NBC.
Justice Ekwo held that after examining all the documents from relevant government agencies and facts before the court, the Soku oil wells/fields belong to Rivers State.
The court, however, made an order compelling the NBC to rectify forthwith in the 12th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria the erroneous interstate boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa states as contained in the extant 11th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria.

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