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Govt Wants Supreme Court To Dismiss Rivers’ Bid To Stop Ceding Of 17 Oil Wells To Imo

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Govt Wants Supreme Court To Dismiss Rivers' Bid To Stop Ceding Of 17 Oil Wells To Imo

The dispute over the gownership of 17 oil wells has deepened as the Federal Government, on Tuesday, urged the Supreme Court to dismiss a suit that the Rivers State government filed to stop it from ceding the oil wells to Imo.

In processes it filed through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the government 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 State.

The apex court had in an earlier chamber ruling it delivered in the matter, ordered the FG and its agencies to halt actions pertaining to an alleged plan to cede the oil wells to Imo state, pending the determination of the suit that was brought before it by the Rivers state government.

The ruling followed an ex-parte application Rivers State argued through its lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala, SAN.

The Supreme Court specifically restrained the AGF and the Attorney General of Imo state from taking any further action on the ownership of the disputed 17 oil wells, pending a resolution of legal issues sorrounding its ownership.

It further barred the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and the Fiscal Commission )RMAFC) and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation from approving, implementing, or giving effect in any manner to a letter from RMAFC office, with reference number RMC/O&G/47/1/264, dated July 1, 2021, which canceled the equal sharing of proceeds from the 17 oil wells by Rivers and Imo states.

At the resumed proceedings in the matter on Tuesday, FG’s lawyer, Dr. Remi Olatubura, SAN) and that of Imo state, Chief Olusola Oke (SAN) who are 1st and 2nd defendants in the matter, made their formal appearances in the case.

While FG said it filed a counter-affidavit against the writ of summons, Rivers State lodged with respect to the disputed oil wells, on its part, Imo state said it also filed a motion on notice to query the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to hear the case as a court of first instance.

READ ALSO: Buhari Asks Senate To Amend PIA, Ignores Oil Areas’ Demand For 5%

Counsel to Imo state, Mr. Oke, SAN, contended that since Rivers State brought the suit to challenge the action of some federal government agencies and not the FG itself, the matter ought to have been instituted before a Federal High Court instead of the Supreme Court.

Responding, lead counsel to Rivers state, government Mr Joseph Daudu (SA), asked for seven days to file his reply on points of law to the motions by the two defendants.

Consequently, a seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court led by Justice Kekere Ekun, adjourned the case till November 1 to hear all the pending motions.

The panel directed all the parties to ensure that they filed and exchanged all relevant processes before the next adjourned date.

Rivers State is in its suit, seeking a declaration that the boundary between it and Imo State, as delineated on Nigeria administrative map 10, 11 and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations, are inaccurate, incorrect and do not represent the legitimate and lawful boundaries between Rivers and Imo State.

The plaintiff is further seeking a declaration that as far as Nigeria’s administrative map 10, 11 and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations, relate to the boundaries between Rivers and Imo, the said maps are unlawful and void, cannot be relied on to determine the extent of the territorial governmental jurisdiction of Rivers state and to determine the revenue accuring to Rivers state from the federation account, including the application of the principle of derivation and other revenue allocation principles as contained in the 1999 Constitution.

It further applied for a declaration of the Supreme Court that the correct instrument maps and documents to be relied on in determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo States, are those used by the plaintiff in delineating the boundary line between Rivers and Imo states.

The plaintiff is also seeking a declaration that all the oil wells within Akri and Mbede communities are wrongly attributed to Imo State and that they are all oil wells within the territory of Rivers Statet

It maintained that only Rivers State is entitled to receive the full allocation of the distributable revenue from the oil wells on the basis of the 1390 derivation as contained under section 162 of the 1999 constitution.

The plaintiff is urging the court to issue an order of mandatory injunction, directing the AGF to calculate, to its satisfaction, and refund to it all revenue that has been wrongly attributed to or paid to Imo state on account of the limit or extent of their territories, including earnings due to it from revenue derived from Akri and Mbede oil wells.

READ ALSO: Why Buhari Govt Won’t Name, Shame Financiers Of Terrorism – Adesina

It further wants an order of injunction directing the AGF to withdraw from circulation its administrative map 10,11 and 12th editions and to refrain from relying on any of the said maps for the purpose of determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo state.

As well as an order of mandatory injunction directing AGF to produce administrative map bearing the correct boundary between Rivers and Imo state.

Rivers State is equally praying the apex court to award it the sum of N500million as litigation cost.

 

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Ekiti SSG Oyebanji Resigns From Cabinet, To Contest For Governor

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Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has accepted the resignation of Secretary to the State Government, Biodun Oyebanji, from his cabinet.

The resignation which was conveyed in a letter to the governor, dated December 3, 2021, takes effect from Tuesday, December 7th.

According to a statement by Yinka Oyebode, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Oyebanji had cited his decision to contest the forth-coming governorship election in the state for his resignation as Secretary to the State Government.

Governor Fayemi in accepting Oyebanji’s resignation, thanked the former SSG for his remarkable contribution to the administration since inception in 2018 and wished him well in his future endeavours.

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Ekiti 2022: Fayemi Gives Dec 18 Deadline To Governorship Aspirants To Resign

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Ekiti 2022:Fayemi Gives Dec 18 Deadline To Governorship Aspirants To Resign

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has directed anyone serving in his government who would like to contest the governorship primaries to tender his or her resignation latest by December 18th.

The directive was contained in a statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Insurgency Has Declined Under Buhari – Fayemi

The development, according to the statement, became imperative in order to ensure cohesion and excellent service delivery – two major hallmarks of the administration- remain uncompromised.

In compliance with directives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State has slated the governorship primaries for January, ahead of the June 2022 governorship election.

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Court Affirms Election Of Soludo As Anambra Governor

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Court Affirms Election Of Soludo As Anambra Governor

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday declined to nullify the election of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo as the governor of Anambra State.

The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, dismissed a suit that sought to invalidate Soludo’s election on the allegation that he supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC).

The Plaintiffs, Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuka, had in their suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021, alleged that Soludo lied in the affidavit (Form EC9), which he submitted to INEC.

They claimed that Soludo, in the said affidavit attached to his nomination form, stated that he was contesting the Aguata 2 Constituency seat, when, in fact, he was contesting the governorship seat.

More so, they told the court that an affidavit Soludo’s running mate and Deputy Governor-elect, Onyeka Ibezim, also submitted to INEC, contained false particulars considering that he stated that he was vying for Awka 2 Constituency seat.

Cited as defendants in the suit were the INEC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Soludo and the Deputy Governor-elect, Ibezim.

The plaintiffs, through their lawyers, , A. O. Ijeri and Kelvin Okoko, argued that having indicated the wrong seat on the form, Soludo, violated extant legal provisions and ought to be disqualified.

“The constitution has made a state a constituency in relation to the governorship election, but in this case, the third defendant (Soludo) named Aguata 2 as the constituency he is contesting.

“The cause of action in a pre-election matter, by the provision of Section 285(9) of the Constitution, is determined by the date of the occurrence of the event, a decision or action complained about in the suit by the plaintiff.

“And in the instant suit, the cause of action of the plaintiffs arose on July 6, 2021, when the 3rd Defendant’s (Soludo’s) Form EC9 was submitted by the political party (the 2nd Defendant)”, they argued.

However, counsel for APGA and Soludo, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, queried jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter which he maintained was statue barred.

Aside from contending that the suit was filed outside the 14 days period stipulated by the Constitution, Ikpeazu, argued that error in an affidavit could not be a basis to disqualify a candidate from an election.

He argued that the false information claimed by the plaintiffs was not among the grounds stated in the 1999 Constitution for the disqualification of a candidate.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Affirms Soludo As APGA Governorship Candidate For Anambra Poll

“False information, as envisaged in Section 31 of the Electoral Act is criminal in nature. Section 31 does not deal with error, but a deliberate effort to steal a match and to misrepresent”, he added.

On its part, INEC, through its lawyer, Bashir Abubakar, said it would leave the issue to the discretion of the court.

Meanwhile, in his judgement on Wednesday, though Justice Taiwo dismissed the preliminary objection challenging the competence of the suit and jurisdiction of the court to hear it, he however held that the plaintiffs, failed to establish that they had a reasonable cause of action.

Justice Taiwo held that the plaintiffs failed to convince the court on how the alleged false information both Soludo and Ibezim supplied to INEC, misled them.

The court held that since the allegation by the plaintiffs was also criminal in nature, it ought to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

It held that the suit was filed in bad faith and a good example of cases that are not geared towards strengthening of the tenets of democracy in the country.

“I am yet to come to terms on the purpose for which this suit was filed. I am saying this because I am not convinced that this action is reasonable”, Justice Taiwo added.

Consequently, the court awarded N2million cost against the plaintiffs, in favour of the APGA, Soludo and Ibezim.

 

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