Port Harcourt — Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, says Soku oil wells belong to Rivers State as the Federal High Court has affirmed, based on the admission by the National Boundary Commission that it erroneously shifted the boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa States, in the 11th edition of the administrative map of Nigeria.
This is as his Bayelsa State counterpart, Governor Seriake Dickson, had, among other allegations, accused Governor Wike of pulling out of ongoing efforts to amicably resolve the boundary delineation dispute over Soku oil wells and secretly returning to court, without joining his state in the suit.
Governor Dickson had also announced that Bayelsa State would challenge the High Court judgement which ruled that Rivers State owns the disputed Soku oil wells, claiming that the new judgement runs contrary to a previous ruling of the Supreme court.
But Governor Wike has described the allegations made against him by the Bayelsa State Governor as “the baseless ranting of a frustrated politician who is yet to come to terms with his losses.”
The governor while addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt on Monday, said he is a good representative of Rivers State as he uses their mandate effectively to develop the State, claiming that he has achieved more for Rivers State in four years, than Dickson did for Bayelsa State in about 8 years.
“In 2002, the 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 Bartholomew. At the Supreme Court, the 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,” he said.
Governor Wike said seven years after the Supreme Court gave the order, the NBC was yet to effect the correction. He said that preliminary report on the 12th Edition, indicated that the NBC made no attempt to obey the order of the Supreme Court.
“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.”
Governor Wike stated that he was elected by Rivers people to protect their interest. He said there is 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.”
Governor Wike said while Rivers State is a major construction site, the Bayelsa State Governor has failed his people by refusing to utilise their resources judiciously.
He said that for a small state like Bayelsa, it was wrong for the outgoing Governor to expend N70billion on an uncompleted airport, when Bayelsa State lacks good roads and basic infrastructure.
Governor Wike said there is no oil wars between Rivers State and Imo or Akwa Ibom States as claimed by the outgoing Bayelsa State Governor.
He said that he went to Court against Imo and Akwa Ibom States to challenge the attempt to take what belongs to Rivers State and also against illegal deductions of funds from Rivers State by agencies of the Federal Government. He said he still enjoys a good working relationship with the Governors of Imo and Akwa Ibom States.
It will be recalled that a Federal High Court in Abuja, lastweek, ruled that Rivers State owns the disputed Soku Oil Wells/Fields located in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
In a judgment in Suit Number FHC/ABJ/CS/984/19, the Attorney-General of Rivers State versus National Boundary Commission, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court declared that after examining all the documents from relevant Government agencies and facts before the court, the Soku oil wells belong to Rivers State.