Friday, 1 November 2019

76 Oil Wells: Lawmaker urges C'River Gov't to revisit case

By Kingsley Agim 

The lawmaker representing Etung State Constituency in the House of Assembly, Hon. (Barr.) Chris Njah Mbu-Ogar has called on the Cross State Government to challenge the ruling that the ownership of 76 offshore oil wells belonged to Akwa Ibom.

Hon. Mbu-Ogar made the call when speaking to newsmen recently at the Hallowed Chamber of the State House of Assembly in Calabar.

The legislator, who recalled a clause in the 2012 Supreme Court verdict insisting that "the government of Nigeria has a means of providing for the social needs of the people of Cross River State faced with the social problems thrusted on the state due to the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to the Cameroon," while advising that "the state government should explore ways of getting the Federal Government to take care of the social needs of the people of the area." 

Hon. Mbu-Ogar also stated that the Government of Cross River State had engaged the Federal Government, through the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, where 15 billion was approved as yearly compensation to the State, after the initial 500 million monthly compensation was inadequate.

He blamed previous administrations over poor handling of the case that led to the ceding of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon, saying: "when the Federal Government that is supposed to serve as a protective mechanism, reneges on its duty, it is right to say the Federal Government is to blame."

Following the International Court of Justice judgment recognising Cross River State as the border State with the Republic of Cameroon, legal experts are of the opinion that no other state in Nigeria can lay claim of the 76 oil wells except Cross River.

"The State Government should, as a matter of urgency, challenge the implementation of such an unconscionable and illegal  verdict," he admonished.

"Except for any ulterior motive to the judgment that was issued at the Hague, the Federal Government ought to very quickly, follow due process, otherwise, Cross River State will continue to suffer the challenges it is facing now," Mbu-Ogar added.

He adjured the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to implement the 15 billion yearly compensation, which is to run in perpetuity, to the extent that Bakassi remains ceded.