June 9, 2009

Ceding of 76 oil wells: C-River federal allocation down by 50%


CALABAR — The delisting of Cross River State from the league of oil producing states has reduced the state’s share from the federal revenue allocation to 50 per cent, the Calabar Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (Calcima), has said.

Chief Edem Duke, President of the Calabar City Chamber in a press conference, in Calabar, said the recent ceding of 76 oil wells from the state to neighboring Akwa Ibom State has inflicted pain on the state which had been in painful mood over the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to the Republic of Cameroon .

Chief Duke regretted that the 76 oil wells which hitherto had been credited to Cross River State has been excised and re-allocated, leaving the state hard and dry a development that would not only stall all government projects, but create some difficulties in the payment of salaries of workers under the state employ.

His words: “It is, therefore, a matter for extreme regret, consternation and smacking of insensitivity to the predicament of one of its parts, for any agency of government to take any further action which could inflict additional pain on an already pained state.

This is reflected in the report that even the 76 oil wells which hitherto had been credited to Cross River state has been excised and re-allocated, leaving the state hard and dry with a loss of about 50% of its share of federal revenue allocation as a result of an alleged boundary adjustment”.

“The effect of this in the economy of the state is catastrophic as this could spell immediate stalling of all government projects while salaries of government employees would be difficult to garner”, he stated.

The Chamber President who was accompanied by officers and other members of the City Chamber said the delisting of the state from the nine oil producing states in the country was done without the approval of the relevant authority of the federal government and apparently without any rational appraisal of the critical consequences of the action on the state.

He noted that the news of the ceding of the 76 oil wells to the sister state was a great shock to the people of the state because the state had over the years been so recognized not only because of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula which had been ceded to Cameroon, but had so remained after the ceding on account of the oil wells credited to it because of its littoral status.

“This could therefore not be removed in a questionable boundary re-adjustment exercise when the boundaries of the state had earlier been defined since 2005. This adjustment was made by the National Boundaries Commission and was therefore not subject to arbitrary re-adjustment”, he declared.

Duke explained that the ceding of Bakassi to the Cameroon did not involved boundary re-adjustment with any neighboring state and did not involve the re-allocation of mineral resources located within the state or its littoral status, adding that “the so-called re-adjustment of the state’s boundary could not therefore be but an arbitrary action carried out without due consideration of fairness and equity”.

The Chamber President requested President Umaru Yar’Adua to take a cursory political and humane re-examination of the entire situation and reverse “this unpopular” decision in the interest of fairness, humanity and peaceful co-existence.

“Cross River state should not be made to suffer multiple injuries arising from the Bakassi issue by being further strangulated while it is still battling to weather the multiple effects of the excision of Bakassi from its territory and the resettlement of displaced Bakassi people”, Duke stated.