• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Court gives Soku Oil Wells to Rivers

Soku Oil
A Federal High Court, Abuja, Monday,  ruled that the disputed Soku Oil Wells/Fields belongs to Rivers rather than Bayelsa State.
The oil wells are located in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
In a judgment in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/984/19,  Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, declared 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 said that the National Boundary Commission cannot unilateral decide  boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa Stated after the Supreme Court judgment on the matter.
The error was said to have surfaced in the 11th Edition of Administrative Map produced by the commission in 2002.
The commission was said to have in its letter dated July 3, 2002, in response to Rivers State government’s protest admitted its mistake and promised to rectify it in the 12th edition of the administrative map. But this did not happen.
Rivers State government, however, filed the suit against the Attorney-General of Bayelsa State and the Attorney-General of the Federation before the Supreme Court in 2009 due to failure of the commission to rectify the mistake.
The Supreme Court in 2012 ruled in favour of Rivers State and ordered the rectification of the error.
By August 2019, when the mistake had yet to be corrected, Rivers State Government instituted a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order of mandamus compelling the boundary commission to correct the error.
In the judgment on Monday, the court ordered that the boundary commission 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.
The court declared that the continued failure and refusal of the National Boundary Commission to rectify the admitted mistake which erroneously showed St Batholomew River instead of River Santa Barbara as the interstate boundary between Rivers State and Bayelsa State is a breach of its statutory duty and a flagrant disobedience of the order of the Supreme Court contained in its judgment delivered on 10/7/2012 in Suit Number SC. 106 /2009.
Justice Ekwo declared that the continued reliance on the said defective 11th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria by the other Government Agencies/Statutory Bodies especially the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission and the Accountant General of the Federation in the computation of revenue accruable to Rivers State from the Federation Account has resulted in the continued unjust denial of derivation funds accruing from the Soku Oil Wells/fields situate within Rivers State.
The court also ordered that pending the formality of compliance by the National Boundary Commission deeming the administrative boundary between Rivers State and Bayelsa State to be River Santa Barbara in accordance with the admission of the National Boundary Commission as per the letter of 3/7/2002 and the definitive order of the Supreme Court made on 10/7/2012.
Justice Ekwo granted the two reliefs and directed that notice be served of the Decision of the Court on the Revenue Mobilisation,  Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Accountant General of the Federation.
The court said that the National Boundary Commission cannot unilateral delineate the boundary between the two states after the Supreme Court judgment on the matter.
The court also dismissed an objection to the suit raised by the National Boundary Commission,  which it said lacked merit.