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Oil Wells Ownership Battle: S’ Court Fixes Nov 1 For Hearing

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The Supreme Court yesterday fixed November 1 for definite hearing in the legal battle between Rivers and Imo States over the ownership of 17 oil wells.
The apex court fixed the date after the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as 1st defendant and Imo State as 2nd defendant formally made appearances through their lawyers, Remi Olatubura, SAN and Chief Olusola Oke, SAN, respectively.
Justice Kekere Ekun set the stage for determination of the suit instituted by Rivers State against its Imo State counterpart shortly after identifying some of the processes so far filed for and against the legal action.
Ekun who led a panel of seven Justices of the court in a short ruling ordered parties in the suit to file and exchange fully their respective processes between now and Nov. 1 when the suit would be heard.
At the proceedings, Imo State’s Lawyer informed the court that he had filed a motion on notice challenging the jurisdiction of the apex court to hear the suit as a court of first instance.
He predicated the challenge on the fact that the suit was instituted against actions of some federal government agencies and not the Federal Government itself and as such, the place to hear the matter is a Federal High Court and not the Supreme Court.
However, counsel to the AGF said he had filed a counter affidavit against the writ of summons of Rivers State.
Lead counsel to Rivers State, Mr Joseph Daudu, SAN, in his response demanded for seven days to file reply on points of law to the motions of the two defendants.
The apex court had on July 14 granted an order of injunction stopping the Federal Government and it’s agencies from ceding the 17 disputed oil wells located at Akri and Mbede to Imo State.
The order of injunction was granted to stop an alleged implementation of the ceding of the 17 oil wells to Imo State pending the determination of the suit brought before it by the Rivers State Government.
The Supreme Court had in a chamber ruling by an ex-parte application argued by Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, restrained the AGF and the Attorney General of Imo State from taking any further action on the ownership of the disputed 17 oil wells till the ownership disputes surrounding them are resolved.
It also barred the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and the Fiscal Commission, 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 canceled the equal sharing of proceeds from the 17 oil wells by Rivers and Imo States.
Rivers through its Attorney-General had dragged the AGF and the Attorney General of Imo State before the Supreme Court praying for declaration that the boundary between Rivers State and Imo State, as delineated on Nigeria 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 Rivers and Imo States.
Plaintiff also sought a declaration that as far as Nigeria’s administrative map 10,11 and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations, relate to the boundaries between Rivers and Imo, are unlawful and void.
The plaintiff also said the maps cannot be relied on to determine the extent of the territorial governmental jurisdiction of Rivers State and to determine the revenue accruing to Rivers State from the federation account, including the application of the principle of derivation and other revenue allocation principles as contained in the 1999 Constitution.
It further applied that the Supreme Court declare that the correct instrument maps and documents, to be relied on determining the boundary between Rivers and Im States, are those used by the plaintiff in delineating the boundary line between Rivers and Imo States.
Plaintiff also sought declaration that all the oil wells within Akri and Mbede communities are wrongly attributed to Imo State.
The plaintiff also said that they are all oil wells within the territory of Rivers state and form part of Rivers State and that it is only Rivers that is entitled to receive the full allocation of the distributable revenue from the oil wells on the basis of the 1390 derivation as contained under section 162 of the 1999 constitution.
Rivers State therefore sought order of mandatory injunction directing the AGF to calculate, to its satisfaction, and refund to it all revenue that have been wrongly attributed to or paid to Imo state on account of the limit or extent of their territories, including earnings due to it from revenue derived from Akri and Mbede oil wells.
The plaintiff also sought order of Injunction directing the AGF to withdraw from circulation its administrative map 10,11 and 12th editions and to refrain from relying on any of the said maps for the purpose of determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo state.
Rivers also applied for another order of mandatory injunction directing AGF to produce administrative map bearing the correct boundary between Rivers and Imo state.
A sum of N500,000,000 naira was also sought as cost of prosecuting the case.

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Crime/Justice

Insecurity: Expert Tasks Govs On Employment

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In a bid to combat banditry and uprising currently engulfing the South-South geo-political zone in particular and Nigeria in general, a tourism expert and Managing Director of Rama Hotels, Opobo Town, in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Council of Rivers State, Elder Innocent Gogo, has urged governors in the zone to lift ban on employment, where youths and other vulnerable electorate would be engaged in various job opportunities to shun crimes and other social ills.
Specking with The Tide recently in Opobo, Gogo stressed that except something tangible is done to cover the gap, things will continue to go the wrong way in the area, which he said, will adversely affect government activities and the economy by not being able to fight against banditry, insurgency and other forms of criminality.
Gogo explained that when the ban is lifted by the governors, and employment provided for the teeming jobless youths and other citizens, unity and peace will then be achieved in the country, noting that only such can be sustained through individual and collective efforts especially in fighting insecurity and other factors militating against economic development of the zone particularly and the country in general.
“We must as a people work in tandem with our governors and other leaders in the ongoing battle to rid the country of all incidences of insecurity like banditry, kidnapping, assassination, killings, raping, prostitution and cyber crimes, among others”, he said.
He further said that the Nigerian youths and other indigent citizens should partner with the leaders for the benefit of the nation in the area of quality and people-oriented governance that produced prosperous future for them, stressing that the governors and other stakeholders as well, should incorporate the helpless masses in government policies and programmes and ensure that Nigerian youths in their respective states were provided with immediate employment that keep them off the streets and crimes.
Elder Innocent Gogo, whose business preaches genuine development, stated that the state governors and other leaders in the six states of the zone, comprising of Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Cross River should usher in new projects in their states that would touch on the lives of the people of South South geo-political zone and environs.
He used the opportunity to admonished the electorate in the area, especially youths and women to support the present dispensation to enable it provide the much desired development of both human and material resources, to allow for progressive people, and ought to lay down their arms that could jeopardize the free-flow of purposeful governance, which in turn, provides the yearned democratic dividends, adding that the early lifting of such ban on employment, the better for peaceful co-existence between the government and the governed in the zone particularly and Nigeria generally.

By: Bethel Toby

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Crime/Justice

Wike’ s Support For Security Operatives Excites Monarch

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The Nye Udu Upata 111 of Upata Kingdom, King Felix Otuwarkpo has expressed gratitude to Governor Nyesom Wike for his tireless support to the Nigerian Army, 6 Division as well as sister security operatives in the state.
Otuwarikpo said this during the Flag-off of operation ‘Still Water Exercise 2021’ by the Nigerian Army , 6 Division in Ahoada on Monday.
The Nye Udu Upata 111 of Upata Kingdom noted that the exercise will complement the efforts of the traditional rulers in the area of peace.
Describing the scheme as a welcome development, he added that the presence of the security operatives would brace up the little efforts of traditional council.
In the restoration of peace, he said , no society would develop without peace.
“ As a people ,we are yearning for peace,growth and development which can be achieved when all hands are on deck. As a council ,we had met severally with youths asking them to lay down arms and embrace peace”, he said.
The monarch also hinted that reasonable number of the the youth have abandoned crime and now champion peace initiatives.
He further urged the military to ensure rights of his people were not violated and added that any issue should reported to the council for prompt attention.
To buttress his point, he pledged robust and full cooperation of his people throughout the duration of the exercise.
Meanwhile, he had described the free medical exercise as a golden moment for his people and added that it would go along way in attending to the health need of the people.
“It is refreshing and kind gesture of the Army in carrying out Social Responsibility. My people will reciprocate”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the exercise was launched in preparation for the Yule tide celebration.

By: King Onunwor

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Crime/Justice

Lawyer Wants Commission’s Chairman, Secretary Removed

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A lawyer, Festus Onifade, has urged a Federal High Court, Abuja to make an order, directing the Chairman and Secretary, Federal Character Commission (FCC), Mrs Mueeba Dankaka and Mohammed Tukur respectively, to vacate office forthwith.
Onifade, in an originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/709/2021 dated and filed July 19 before Justice Inyang Ekwo, sued five respondents in the matter.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), FCC, Dankaka and Tukur are among the respondents.
The legal practitioner averred in his affidavit in support that while Dankaka hails from Kwara in the North Central zone, Tukur is from Taraba, North East part of the country.
He asked the court to determine “whether by the combined provisions of Sections 7 and 8 (1) & (2) (a)(b)(c) of the third Schedule, Part 1 of Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended) and Section 4(1) of the Subsidiary Legislation (Guiding Principles And Formulae For The Distribution Of All Cadres Of Posts) 1997 of the Federal Character Commission (Establishment) Act 1995, the appointments of 4th and 5th respondents by the 1st respondent and the confirmation of the said appointments by the Senate of the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY as Chairman and Secretary of the Federal Character Commission is not a violation of the Constitution and therefore unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.”
Onifade also prayed the court to determine whether Dankaka and Tukur’s appointment and their continuous holding of office is not inconsistent with the provisions of the law.
The lawyer, therefore, sought seven reliefs, among which are “a declaration that the 1st respondent and the Senate of the National Assembly are bound to observe and comply with the provisions of the sections 7 and 8 (1)(2) (a) (b) (c) of the Third Schedule, part 1 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) in the appointment of persons to the office of the Chairman and Secretary of Federal Character Commission.”
He urged the court to make an order, directing immediate dissolution and reconstitution of the board of the FCC to reflect the established law.
“An order directing the 4th and 5th respondents to immediately vacate office forthwith.
“An order directing the 1st respondent to immediately appoint other persons into offices of Chairman and Secretary of the 3rd respondent in compliance with the provisions of the law.”
Justice Ekwo fixed Nov. 5 to hear the matter.

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