The Rivers State’s claim to the 17 oil wells in Akri and Mbede communities also claimed by Imo State has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
In a judgment on Friday, a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court was unanimous in holding that the oil wells belonged to Rivers State.
The apex court rejected Imo’s claim that the oil wells were within its boundary.
In the lead judgment, written by Justice Heleen Ogunwumiju but read on Friday by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the Supreme Court granted majority of the reliefs sought by Rivers.
The judgment was on the suit marked: SC/1037/2020 filed by Rivers State, with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Attorney General of Imo State as defendants
The Supreme Court, in its judgment on Friday, granted reliefs 1, 3 4 5 and 6 sought by the plaintiff and refused reliefs 2, 7 and 10.
Among the reliefs granted included a declaration that the boundary between Rivers and Imo states, as delineated in the Nigeria Administrative Map 10th edition, 11th edition, 12th edition and other maps bearing similar delineation are inaccurate, incorrect, and do not represent the legitimate and lawful boundaries between Rivers and Imo states.
The apex court upheld Rivers’ contention that the correct instruments, map and documents to be relied upon in the determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo states are those used by Rivers in delineating the boundary line between the two states including Decree No. 14 of 1967, Decree No. 12 of 1976, the White papers/conclusion of the Federal Military government on the Irikefe and the Nasir Boundary Commission/Boundary Adjustment Commission, the Eastern Nigeria map, the Provincial map of Owerri province, Warri Province, Onitsha Province, Rivers Province, the Ahoada District map and Aboh Division map.
It declared that, based on the correct instruments, maps and documents for determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo states, including Decree no. 14 of 1967, Decree No. 12 of 1976, the White papers/conclusion of the Federal Military Government on the Irikefe and the Nasir boundary Commission/boundary Adjustment Commission, the Eastern Nigeria map, the Provincial map of Owerri Province, Warri Province, Onitsha Province, Rivers Province, the Ahoada District map and Aboh Division map, the Rivers State communities wrongly attributed to Imo State among other communities are communities within the territorial boundaries of Rivers State and therefore communities in respect of which Rivers State is entitled to exercise governmental and administrative powers including entitlement to benefits derivable from mineral or other resources within the communities.
The Supreme Court further declared thatall the oil wells within Akri and Mbede communities usually identified with the names Akri and Mbede including the oil wells identified on Rivers map showing the location of oil wells wrongly attributed to Imo State including Akri 012, Akri 009, Akri 010, Akri 004, Akri West 002, Akri 001, Akri West 001, Akri 003, Akri 002, and Akri South 001, Mbede 017, Mbede 010, Mbede 019, Mbede 018, Mbede 002, Mbede 009, and Mbede 005 are all oil wells within the territory of Rivers State and form part of Rivers State and that it is only Rivers State that is entitled to receive the full allocation of the distributable revenue derived from the oil wells on the basis of the 13 percent derivation principle as provided for under Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, among others.
It however declined the plaintiff’s request for N500million cost. It equally declined the plaintiff’s prayer for an order directing the AGF to calculate and refund to Rivers State all revenue that have been wrongly denied the state and wrongly paid to Imo state on account of the extent of the distributable revenue derived from the Akri and Mbede oil wells.