Supreme Court fixes Jan. 17 to hear Rivers/ Imo oil wells dispute suit

The Supreme Court on Monday, fixed Jan. 17, 2022 to hear an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court in the case instituted by the Rivers government, seeking to stop the Federal Government from ceding 17 oil wells in the state to Imo.The court will also hear the application challenging the competence of the  main suit.

The seven-member panel led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, fixed the date after counsel to the Attorney- General of the Federation and Imo,  Mr Remi Olatubora, SAN.and Mr Olushola Oke, SAN, told the court that they had two motions.The motions, they said, is challenging the competence of the suit and the  jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter.

The counsel argued that the motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the competence of the suit  ought to take precedence over the main suit.The legal team to Rivers government, however told the court that their summons for direction by the court in streamlining the various applications, ought to take precedence.He suggested that the motions by the Imo government should be heard with the main suit.The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) recalls that Rivers government had taken the attorney- general of the federation and the Imo government, to the apex court, seeking a declaration that the boundary between Rivers and Imo, as delineated on Nigeria administrative map and other maps bearing similar delineations were  inaccurate.The Rivers government further argued that the delineation  did not represent the legitimate boundaries between the two  states.

The plaintiff is also seeking a declaration that the said maps and other maps bearing similar delineations relating to the boundaries between Rivers and Imo are “unlawful and void and cannot be relied on to determine the extent of the territorial governmental jurisdiction of Rivers.”It is praying the court to declare that the oil wells within Akri and Mbede communities are wrongly attributed to Imo as they fall within the territory of Rivers and form part of Rivers.It also prayed that only Rivers  is entitled to receive the full allocation of the distributable revenue from the oil wells based on the 1390 derivation as contained under section 162 of the 1999 constitution.

NAN also reports that on Sept. 21, the Federal Government urged the Apex Court to dismiss the suit that Rivers government filed to stop it from ceding 17 disputed oil wells to Imo.The federal government,  in processes it filed through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, further prayed the apex court to vacate an order of injunction it issued on July 14, which stopped the process of ceding the oil wells located at Akri and Mbede, to Imo.(NAN)