Disputed oil wells: We’re open to dialogue with Imo State – Wike
File: Oil Wells

Adebayo Obajemu

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has given indication that the Government of Rivers State was ever willing to open a dialogue with Imo State Government, concerning the oil wells which the Supreme Court had declared belongs to the State.

Recall that the Supreme Court had resolved the ownership dispute of the 17 oil wells in the boundary between Rivers and Imo States, in favour of Rivers State, while ending the 50:50 political arrangement on the sharing of oil revenue between the two states.

Speaking, Governor Wike urged Governor Hope Uzodima to accept the outcome of the Supreme Court judgement in good faith, refrain from his diatribes against the judiciary and explore possible pathways to accommodation and compromise from the Rivers State Government.

Wike in a state-wide broadcast said the Rivers State Government will obliged Imo State Government a compromise, as the quest to defend Rivers State’s ownership rights through the courts over the Akiri and Mbede oil wells was not intended to claim victory over Imo.

“This, we may readily oblige, despite the betrayals and back-stabbing by Emeka Ihedioha, who in spite of the extensive support and goodwill he received from the Government and people of Rivers State to become Governor, led the onslaught and created a wedge between two brotherly States that have been living at peace and in friendship with each other.

“We are therefore open to further discussions with the Government of Imo State on the best way forward without prejudice to the outcome of the judgment.”

The Rivers governor explained that the oil wells Akiri and Mbede communities, though in dispute, awaited the properly boundaries demarcation by the National Boundary Commission.

“While the waiting was on, there was a political understanding between Imo State and Rivers State that Dr. Peter Odili of Rivers State and Achike Udenwa of Imo State acceded to when they were both serving as governors.”

Governor Wike noted as regrettable, and an act of greed, that former governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State and the current governor Hope Uzodima of that State rescinded the political arrangement of 50:50 sharing formula of the proceeds from the disputed oil well in Akiri and Mbede communities.

“This young man (Emeka Ihedioha), just within five months he became a governor, went to see Mr. President. He wrote to Mr. President that Rivers State is owing Imo State N15billion and therefore, they should take the money from Rivers State, that the oil wells we are sharing on the 50:50 formula amicably, belong to them.

“This is someone Rivers people, not Rivers State government, supported, and spent money on. I’ve never seen a betrayal like this in my life that the former governor Emeka Ihedioha displayed.”

Governor Wike informed that eventually, at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari, the late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari wrote a letter to the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC).

The letter, he said, directed for the deduction of N15billion Naira from Rivers State and the handover of the disputed oil wells to Imo State as requested by Emeka Ihedioha.

“But because of the sharp and very focus and honest Commissioner of Finance that we have in Rivers State, the letter bearing the instruction to take N15 billion from us, and the oil wells to be taken away from us was intercepted.

“We rushed to the Federal High Court to contest that Mr. President has no power to direct you to do this and the court agreed with us that yes Mr. President has no power to do this. That if there is anybody to do this it is the National Boundary Commission.

“Unfortunately, the most corrupt national agency is the National Boundary Commission. Corruption is personified in NBC. If Mr President is fighting corruption, he should leave innocent individuals and go to these agencies where corruption is personified. I’ve never seen people who believes anything they do must be for money.

“They will abandon their function and create problems between States when there is not supposed to be problems. They will not do the right work so that the States can live in harmony.”

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