NIGERIA’S Supreme Court has restrained the federal government and its agencies from ceding 17 oil wells to Imo State after the Rivers State government successfully challenged the handing over of the facilities located in Akri and Mgbede communities.
Imo and Rivers states share a boundary and the 17 wells are located in the border area in Akri and Mgbede, leading to a dispute about who owns them. Nigeria’s federal government had ceded the wells to Imo State but the Rivers State government through its attorney-general, had dragged the attorney-general of the federation and the Imo State attorney-general before the Supreme Court over the dispute.
Successful in the bid, an order of injunction was granted to stop a purported implementation of the ceding of the oil wells to Imo State pending the determination of a suit brought before the apex court by the Rivers State government. In a chamber ruling on an ex-parte application argued by Emmanuel Ukala, the lawyer to the Rivers State Government, the Supreme Court restrained the attorney-general of federation and the attorney-general of Imo State from taking any further action on the ownership of the oil wells until the dispute is resolved.
With the injunction in place, the Supreme Court has fixed September 21 for the hearing of the substantive suit. In the main suit, the Rivers State government is also seeking an order of mandatory injunction directing the attorney-general of the federation to calculate, to its satisfaction and refund to it all revenues that have been wrongly attributed or paid to Imo State from revenue derived from the Akri and Mbede oil wells.
In addition, the Rivers State government is seeking an order of injunction directing the attorney-general of the federation to withdraw from circulation its administrative map of the 10th, 11th and 12th editions and to refrain from relying on any of the said maps for the determining the boundary between both states. Rivers State also applied for another order of mandatory injunction directing the attorney-general of the federation to produce administrative map bearing the correct boundaries between Rivers and Imo States and N500m as costs for the prosecution of its case.