Technocrat Media, Abuja
Rivers State has secured a fovour against Imo State in the battle for disputed 17 oil wells in a ruling of the Supreme Court.
The apex court in its verdict delivered on Friday in Abuja ruled that the oil wells located in Ndoni and Egbema communities belong to Rivers.
In the past, there was a political arrangement put in place by the federal government for the revenue from the disputed wells to be shared equally between Imo and Rivers states.
But in 2019, when Emeka Ihedioha became governor of Imo, a presidential memo directed that all the revenue should go to his state.
However, the Rivers State government in response, filed a lawsuit against the federal government and Imo state, challenging the decision.
The apex court in its six-member panel, led by Olukayode Ariwoola declined to grant the prayer of River State government asking Imo to refund all the monies it had collected based on the political arrangement since 1999.
Rivers state’s counsel, Joseph Daudu, had asked the supreme court to rule in favour of his client on the ground that historical evidence from 1927 till date “clearly indicates that the oil wells belonged to Rivers”.
He referred to the boundary adjustment paper of 1976 where Ndoni and Egbema communities were confirmed to belong to Rivers state.
He disagreed with the claim of the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) that the suit ought not to have originated at the Supreme Court but at a federal high court because oral evidence ought to be taken from people in the disputed areas.
The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction, he argued and can use all available historical documents right from the colonial era to determine the real owners of the oil wells.
Editor’s note: The image used is for illustration and was obtained from Kaftan Post.