FULL SPEECH: Wike On Rivers, Imo Oil Well Dispute
STATEWIDE BROADCAST BY
GOVERNOR NYESOM EZENWO WIKE,
ON THE SUBSISTING DISPUTE BETWEEN RIVERS AND IMO STATES OVER THE OWNERSHIP CLAIMS TO OIL WELLS
AT AKRI AND MGBEDE OILFIELDS
My dear people of Rivers State
2. You may all be aware of the recent claims by the Governor of Imo State, His Excellency Senator Hope Uzodinma about Imo State becoming the fourth largest oil producing State in Nigeria with the purported recovery of some oil-wells from Rivers State located within the disputed Akri and Imgbede Oilfields.
3. I wish to State that this is not correct and his vainglorious celebration premature as no oil well and associated revenue proceeds belonging to Rivers State has been legally ceded or relocated to Imo State by any lawful authority.
4. It is important to note that the disputation between Rivers State and Imo State over the ownership of some oil wells within the Akri and Imgbede Oilfields had remained fully unresolved for a long time.
5. Following the rival ownership claims, the Federal Government has been sharing the proceeds from these disputed oil wells on 50/50 per cent basis between the two States pending the resolution of the boundary disputes by the National Boundaries Commission.
6. However, in 2019, the former Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, secretly initiated actions with the National Boundaries Commission and the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to claim 100 per cent ownership of the disputed wells and accruing revenues behind our back.
7. When these facts came to our notice, we quickly approached the Federal High Court in suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1160/2019 and prayed for the preservation of the interest of Rivers State and the subsisting revenue sharing formula against the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Attorney-General of Imo State pending the lawful and final resolution of the dispute by the National Boundaries Commission.
8. Despite the pendency of this suit, and having been compromised by the Imo State Government, the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission as well as the office of the Surveyor General of the Federation unilaterally traced and demarcated the Imo and Rivers State boundary line and allocated most of the oil wells in the disputed Akri and Mgbede oilfields to Imo State.
9. And to add insult to injury these agencies further directed the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to cancel the subsisting 50/50 sharing formula in respect of all revenues accruing, accrued or derived and credit all to and in favour of Imo State in clear disregard of the pending suit on the subject matter.
10. It is this rather strange, prejudicial and illegal actions and directive that the Imo State Governor have been clamming and gloating about as a “victory” over Rivers State in respect of the disputed oil wells at the Akri and Imgbede oilfields,
11. We are not surprised at the dishonorable ways being employed by the Governor of Imo State and his collaborators in the federal agencies in their attempt to snatch these oil wells from Rivers State because they are only acting through to character.
12. We are also not surprised at the biased manner the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission as well as the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation is handling such a very sensitive matter because we are under a Federal Government that has politicized everything and elevated its actions above rationality and the rule of law.
13. It is however unfortunate that some members of the Peoples Democratic Party and other uninformed persons have joined these characters to blackmail and portray our Government as incapable of protecting our oil wells and the associated economic interest of our State from being robbed.
14. Again, this is far from the truth.
15. This government, under our watch, places the social, political and economic interest of Rivers State above all others, which is a fact we have repeatedly demonstrated.
16. We will therefore not allow Imo State or any other person or institution to illegally take over and or transfer what naturally and evidently belongs to Rivers State to any other State no matter the forces behind them.
17. But we are constrained to call on President Mohammadu Buhari to investigate the lawlessness and corrupt activities of the National Boundaries Commission as well as the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission in this and other matters before they cause unnecessary crisis between otherwise peacefully co-existing neighbouring States.
18. As I have stated above, the matter and the contending issues are already before the Courts for definitive determination. And we already have a favourable judgment before the Federal High Court, Abuja restraining the Federal Government from altering or tempering with the subsisting revenue sharing formula pending the determination of the substantive suit.
19. Yesterday, 14th July 2021, the Supreme Courtalso granted expert orders in our favour restraining the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation from approving, implementing or giving effect in any manner whatsoever to the purported alteration of the subsisting revenue sharing formula between Imo State and Rivers States in respect of the disputed oil wells in the Akri and Mgbede oilfields pending the determination of the substantive suit.
20. What this means is that nothing has altered the abiding economic and revenue interests of Rivers State in our oil wells at the Akri and Mgbede oilfields to our detriment as at today.
21. And nothing is expected to also change even in the future except to our total advantage as our most fundamental interest and claim before the Supreme Court is to terminate the joint beneficial ownership of these oil wells in favour of Rivers State, which we are very hopeful of winning by God’s special grace.
22. We, therefore, urge everyone to remain calm and allow the government to peacefully pursue the legal battles, which are already underway, to a logical and glorious conclusions.
23. Thank you and may God bless Rivers State.