July 14, 2021

Supreme Court retrains FG from ceding 17 oil wells to Imo state

Adjourns case till Sept 21 for hearing

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri – Abuja

The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, issued an order of injunction restraining the Federal Government from ceding 17 disputed oil wells located at Akri and Mbede, to Imo state.

The apex court ordered FG and its agencies to halt actions pertaining to the alleged plan to cede the oil wells to Imo state, pending the determination of a suit that was brought before it by the Rivers state government.

A chamber ruling the court delivered on the matter on Wednesday followed an ex-parte application Rivers State argued through its lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala, SAN.

The Supreme Court specifically restrained the Attorney General of the Federation and the Attorney General of Imo state, from taking any further action on the ownership of the disputed 17 oil wells, pending resolution of legal issues surrounding its ownership.

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It further barred the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and the Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation from approving, implementing, or giving effect in any manner to a letter from RMAFC office, with reference number RMC/O&G/47/1/264, dated July 1, 2021, which canceled the equal sharing of proceeds from the 17 oil wells by Rivers and Imo states.

The apex court subsequently fixed September 21, 2021, for a hearing of the substantive matter.

Rivers State had through its Attorney General, dragged the AGF and the Attorney General of Imo state before the Supreme Court, seeking a declaration that the boundary between it and Imo state, as delineated on Nigeria administrative map 10, 11 and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations, are inaccurate, incorrect and do not represent the legitimate and lawful boundaries between Rivers and Imo State.

The Plaintiff is further seeking a declaration that as far as Nigeria’s administrative map 10, 11, and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations, relate to the boundaries between Rivers and Imo, the said maps are unlawful and void, cannot be relied on to determine the extent of the territorial governmental jurisdiction of Rivers state and to determine the revenue accruing to Rivers state from the federation account, including the application of the principle of derivation and other revenue allocation principles as contained in the 1999 Constitution.

It further applied that the Supreme Court declares 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 line between Rivers and Imo state.

Besides, Plaintiff is also seeking 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.

It maintained that only Rivers State is entitled to receive the full allocation of the distributable revenue from the oil wells on the basis of the 1390 derivation as contained under section 162 of the 1999 constitution.

The Plaintiff is urging the court to issue an order of mandatory injunction, directing the AGF to calculate, to its satisfaction, and refund to it all revenue that has been wrongly attributed to 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.

It further wants an order of injunction directing the AGF to withdraw from circulation its administrative map 10,11 and 12th editions and to refrain from relying on any of the said maps for the purpose of determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo state.

As well as an order of mandatory injunction directing AGF to produce an administrative map bearing the correct boundary between Rivers and Imo state.

Rivers State is equally praying the apex court to award it the sum of N500million as litigation cost.

Vanguard News Nigeria