The Supreme Court has adjourned till January 17, 2022 for hearing of the substantive matter on oil well ownership between Rivers and Imo states.
The Supreme Court order of injunction restraining the federal government and its agencies from ceding oil wells in Akri and Mgbede, Rivers State to Imo State, still subsist.
The case filed by Attorney General of Rivers State (plaintiff) vs Attorney General of the Federation and others was registered in suit number SC.1037/2020).
At the resumed session yesterday, the Attorney General of the Federation and Attorney General of Imo State suffered setback, as the Supreme Court did not take an intended motion to set aside the ex parte order restraining federal government and its agencies from ceding oil wells, located in Akri and Mgbede communities, to Imo State.
The counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, Remi Olatubura and Imo State counsel, Olusola Oke had wanted their motion challenging the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to hear the matter to be heard, but the counsel to Rivers State government led by Emmanuel Ukala countered with a motion for direction to streamline all the other motions.
The seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, adjourned the matter to January 17, 2022, to hear the substantive matter.
Speaking to journalists outside the courtroom, one of the counsels to Rivers State government, Sebastian Hon said the matter was adjourned till January 17, when all interlocutory application will be withdrawn and the substantive matter heard.
Hon explained: “There is a boundary dispute with respect to some oil wells against Imo State. But we joined the Attorney General of the Federation who is a necessary party, because of the regulatory bodies like the National Boundary Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Committee, etc that are federal agencies.
“Basically, it is a dispute that borders on some oil wells which Rivers State is claiming belongs to it. They (defendents) said the court ought to have taken their motion challenging jurisdiction first, but we said no, we have a motion for direction to streamline all the other motions.
“Then the court said instead of wasting time, let’s wait till January to hear the substantive matter. Everything will be taken on that day. They (defendents) actually wanted the court to quash the injunction, but tacitly the court refused to go into that.”
Rivers State government had filed a suit against the Attorney General of the Federation and the Attorney General of Imo State before the Supreme Court, asking for a declaration that the boundary between Rivers State and Imo State as delineated on Nigeria’s administrative map, 10, 11 and 12th editions and other maps bearing similar delineations are inaccurate, incorrect and do not represent the legitimate and lawful boundary between Rivers and Imo.
Rivers, through its Attorney General also sought a declaration that the country’s administrative map 10, 11 and 12th editions and other maps bearing similar delineations with respect to the boundary between Rivers and Imo, are unlawful and void, and cannot be relied on to determine the extent of the territorial governmental jurisdiction of Rivers State and to determine the revenue accruing to the State from the federation account, including the application of the principle of derivation and other revenue allocation principles as contained in the 1999 Constitution.