14 oil wells suit: S’Court fixes July 30 for ruling

Ikechukwu Nnochiri

16 May 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA — Nigeria’s Supreme Court has fixed July 30 for judgment on claims by the Cross River State government that 14 oil wells were ceded to it by former President Olusegun Obasanjo before he left office in 2007.

The state had dragged the Federal Government before the apex court, contending that though the oil wells were validly ceded to them sequel to a mutual agreement it said was brokered by the erstwhile president in 2006, the Akwa Ibom State government was yet to relinquish its control over the said oil wells.

Consequently, the litigant joined the Akwa Ibom State government as a party to the suit which was heard Monday and adjourned for judgment.

When the matter came up Monday, counsel to the appellant, Mr Yusuf Ali, SAN, prayed the apex court to compel the Federal Government and the Akwa Ibom State government to respect the sharing formula put in place by ex-President Obasanjo pertaining to 90 separate oil wells which had been a subject of dispute between the two states.

Nevertheless, counsel to the Akwa Ibom State government, Chief Bayo Ojo SAN, maintained that the issue before the court was whether Cross River, at present, is a littoral state or not.

He argued that the handing over of the western Bakassi to Cameroun in August 14, 2008, divested Cross River of its littoral status, saying it could no longer benefit from the oil wells.

Meanwhile, counsel to FG, Chief Damien Dodo, SAN, argued that the matter was already before the court as at the time the former President wrote the letter sharing the oil well and that the court did not embrace that letter when it sat on the matter in 2005.

He further stressed that the National Boundary Commission and the Revenue Allocation and Fiscal Mobilization Commission acted ultra vires in all matters that led to the instant suit, saying the case should be dismissed.