23 July 2012, Sweetcrude, UYO – THE Akwa Ibom State government is demanding about N18.4 billion from its Cross River State counterpart as refund on the 76 oil wells on which the Supreme court recently granted it ownership.
The state government disclosed that the amount being expected as refund is a derivation deducted from it and paid to Cross River State between the period of January 2008 and May 2012.
It expects the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission to deduct the amount from funds accruing to Cross River State from the federation account and to make same available to Akwa Ibom.
The state government made the demand during a press conference jointly addressed by the Secretary to the State Government, Umanah Okon Umanah; commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Aniekan Umanah; State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Ekpenyong Ntekim and Special Adviser, Technical Matters to the state government, Mr. Etido Inyang.
It noted that when the Supreme Court ruled in a similar case between Rivers State Government and Akwa Ibom State over the loss of 86 oil wells to the former, the sum of N10 billion was being deducted from the coffers of Akwa Ibom State.
Also, the government said in a statement that it was ready to dialogue with Cross River State over the Supreme Court judgment on the ownership of the 76 oil wells.
Said the state government in the statement: “It is never the first time we have judgments between Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.
“In 2005, we lost 24 villages of Mbiabo clan in Itu local government area to Cross River State and as a law-abiding state, we accepted that decision of the Supreme Court in good faith without acrimony.
“We are ready to embrace peace, dialogue that is why we do not hope there will be any affliction and acrimony”.
“And, even if court has made decision it has not settled personal relationship between Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, but the court has adjudicated on the right of parties that appeared before it.
“Akwa Ibom State will continue to remain open for possible overture in the spirit of brotherhood. The oil wells are located in Akwa Ibom State. The 2005 fiat that the oil wells were ceded to Cross River State, it was more like political arrangement, it did not meant the oil wells were located within Cross River territory.”