Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike has stated that the Soku oil wells belong to the state in line with a Supreme Court judgment.
Wike disagreed with his Bayelsa State counterpart, Seriake Dickson, who said ownership of the oil fields was yet to be determined.
Wike noted that the Federal High Court judgment, which transferred Soku oil wells in Oluasiri, a disputed boundary, to Rivers State, validated a Supreme Court judgment on the matter.
Recall that Dickson said that the lower court judgment was contrary to the Supreme Court verdict, which he said directed the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to determine the land ownership.
The Bayelsa governor also stated that the NBC constituted a Joint Technical Committee on the Bayelsa/Rivers Interstate Boundary to resolve the issue, but Rivers Deputy Governor withdrew.
“Bayelsa State is confident of its historical claim of ownership over the lands on which the Oilfields/Oil wells in issue are situated and had always expressed its willingness to fully participate in any joint delimitation and demarcation exercise in respect of the disputed boundary,” Dickson said.
Meanwhile, Wike, at a briefing yesterday, said the Federal High Court confirmed the Supreme Court judgment, pointing that the NBC admitted that it erroneously shifted the boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa states from River Santa Barbara to River Saint Batholomew in the 11th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria.
Wike, who also dismissed Dickson’s allegations as baseless, noted that in 2002, NBC altered the boundary in the 11th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria.
“They made a mistake by shifting the boundary from River Santa Barbara to River St Batholomew. At the Supreme Court, NBC wrote a letter admitting their error.
“The Supreme Court made an order for the NBC to correct the error of the 11th Edition in the 12th Edition.”
Wike also lamented that seven years after the Supreme Court gave the order, the NBC was yet to effect the correction. He added that the preliminary report on the 12th Edition indicated that NBC did not attempt to obey the Supreme Court order.
“We had to sue the NBC to enforce the order of the Supreme Court, where they were directed to ensure that the Boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa State is River Santa Barbara.
“Judgment has been given. The best the Bayelsa State Governor can do is to go on appeal.
“You cannot heap your frustration on us. We have nobody to carry guns. So, the best place to go is the court.”
While stating that he was elected by Rivers people to protect their interest, he added there was nothing personal in the fight for Soku Oil Wells.
“I am protecting what belongs to Rivers State Ijaw. I am protecting what belongs to Rivers State.
“The outgoing Bayelsa State governor is the one trying to cause disharmony by attempting to collect what belongs to the Ijaw in Rivers State.
“Contrary to the allegation by the outgoing Bayelsa State governor, there is no local government area in Rivers State where we don’t have projects.
“Let him mention the projects he has in the eight local government areas of Bayelsa State. Dickson cannot in all ramifications compare himself to me in terms of development.”