Nigeria Supreme Court Decides: Disputed 17 Oil Wells Belong to Rivers, not Imo

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Nigerian Supreme Court, last Friday, declared that the 17 oil wells claimed by the Rivers State government against Imo State belonged to the state (Rivers).

Other defendants in the matter are the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and the Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), the office of the accountant-general of the federation and the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice.

The apex court held that the counterclaim filed by the Imo state government failed, while the administrative maps the state, Imo, relied its case were inaccurate.

In the judgement presided over by Justice Morenikeji Ogunwwumiju, the apex court granted the reliefs sought by Rivers State as 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8, while refusing 2, 7, and 10, among which is the sum of N500million cost against Imo state.

The apex court had in 2021 barred the 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 of July 1, 2021, which cancelled the equal sharing of proceeds from the 17 oil wells by Rivers and Imo states.

Rivers state brought the summons for a declaration that the boundary between it and Imo State, as delineated on Nigeria’s 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 both states.

The apex court held that with Rivers state there is historical evidence since the Irikefe and Nasir Boundary Adjustment Commission in 1927 and the 1976, respectively, the map of eastern Nigeria, the maps of the provinces of Owerri, Warri, Rivers, Ahoada and Abo Division show Egbema and Ndoni belonged to the state.

The apex court thus held that all the oil wells of Akri and Mbede communities that were wrongly attributed to Imo State are within the territory of Rivers state.

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