About two weeks after the Supreme Court confirmed Akwa Ibom as the rightful owner of the 76 disputed oil wells, fresh facts that emerged indicate that Cross River State ought not to have taken the issue to court.
According to the Akwa Ibom State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Ekpenyong Ntekim, Cross River State was instead indebted to Akwa Ibom to the tune of N18.4billion , which it “surreptitiously caused the Revenue Mobilzation , Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to deduct from the derivation revenues of Akwa Ibom State between January 2008 and May 2012”.
Ntekim explained that contrary to the position of Cross River State that the N18.4 billion was deducted from the ecological fund, the said amount was actually arbitrarily and illegally deducted from the statutory derivation revenue of Akwa Ibom State.
“It should be stressed that the entire sum of over N18 billion paid to Cross River State during the said period was not sourced from any Ecological funds but from the statutory derivation revenues of Akwa Ibom”, he stated.
The commissioner pointed out that the deduction was even twice the value of the derivation revenue accruable from the 76 oil wells for the period in contravention of Section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution.
This action, Ntekim said, negated the brotherly gesture in the proposals canvassed through a letter by the Akwa Ibom State Government to its Cross River State counterpart in January 2011.
He said that the Akwa Ibom State Government even offered Cross River State a monthly grant of N250 million in appreciation of the historical and cultural ties that bind the two sister states; a gesture that was turned down by the Cross River State Government, which opted for a continued legal tussle.
The Akwa Ibom State chief law officer maintained that it was unfortunate that some elders from the sister state chose to ignore the position of the court on this matter and rather continue to fan the embers of disunity by making unguarded utterances.
He advised peace-loving Nigerians not to be deceived by wave of propaganda and deceit against the Supreme Court ruling of July 10, 2012, as the Akwa Ibom State Government will continue to operate within the provisions of the law.