04 August 2012, Sweetcrude, CALABAR – THE Cross River State Government has rejected a N250 million monthly grant offered it by the Akwa Ibom Government as settlement for the loss of 76 oil wells.
Adducing reasons for rejecting the offer, the state government said in Calabar that it was a degrading offer which portrayed the leadership of Cross River as opportunistic and irresponsible.
The government’s position was disclosed by Mr Attah Ochinke, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice at a press conference.
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court had in recent judgement ceded 76 oil wells which Cross River laid claims to, to Akwa Ibom.
In the aftermath of the judgement, Gov. Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom had offered to pay Cross River N250 million as grant to cushion the pains of the loss.
In his reaction, Ochinke said it was not correct to say that Cross River rejected overtures for amicable settlement with Akwa Ibom.
His words: “Akwa Ibom government said we rejected an amicable settlement. That is not correct; we rather went to court to enforce the settlement that had already been reached.
“The matter had been settled and agreement written and it was implemented for three years, so what has happened for the parties to now withdraw from that agreement?
“The government of Akwa Ibom said they offered us when the matter was in court, N250 million a month as a peaceful settlement on the matter.
“I do not know when the matter will be settled but I am very certain of one thing, if we do not recover the territory it is not because it does not belong to us, but because we are unable to recover the territory.
“If we were just chancing, if we were just being opportunistic and say look let us try our luck may be we might get something out of it, we will probably accept anything that comes out of it including the offer from the government of Akwa Ibom.
“But you do not give up your legal right, give up your territory and make yourself an object of charity of another government.
“Akwa Ibom was virtually telling us: let us keep your oil wells, we will find you something. That is not what a responsible government will accept. That is why Akwa Ibom said that we rejected an amicably settlement.
“We already have settled the matter amicably, so if you want amicably settlement all you just needed to do is to respect the settlement that was already in place.”