Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, has taken his Bayelsa State counterpart, Seriake Dickson, to task over the controversial Soku oil wells, saying the latter was wrong on the facts.
Replying through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. David Iyofor, Governor Amaechi stated that Dickson did not address the facts relating to Soku oil wells.
“Instead, he chose to twist, spin and distort the facts against the Kalabari people of Rivers State. Worse still, the Bayelsa State governor carefully avoided naming the location of these wells, which are in Soku, a community he knows very well is in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State,” he said.
The Rivers State governor described Dickson’s allegation that he was blackmailing President Goodluck Jonathan as “dangerous, unfounded and in bad faith,” while accusing the Bayelsa State governor of “blackmailing Kalabari people of Rivers State, cajoling them to relinquish the Soku oil wells to Bayelsa State, using the puerile argument that President Jonathan is Ijaw; Kalabari people are Ijaw; so Kalabari people should support their Ijaw brother, who is the president, to take away Kalabari oil wells and should not join Governor Amaechi, who is not Ijaw, in the fight to return Soku oil wells to Kalabari people of Rivers State.”
The Rivers State governor further stated: “In the light of the foregoing, we will enjoin Nigerians to join us in asking the Bayelsa State governor to answer the following pertinent questions: Why would the accruals from the disputed wells, which have been kept in escrow all these years to await the final resolution of the matter, be suddenly paid to Bayelsa State? Why rely on an Administrative Map, whose authors have acknowledged its inaccuracy and promised to remedy? Is it not unjust, even highly immoral, to allow a party to a disputed oil well to be drawing proceeds from the oil well when the matter is the subject of a dispute at the Supreme Court?”
On the ownership of Soku oil wells, Amaechi stated: “The facts on the Rivers State ownership of the Soku oil wells are immutable, no matter how the Bayelsa State governor tries to stretch, twist or spin them. Even in his statement, he conveniently left out the fact that from colonial times up till the 10th edition of the administrative map of Nigeria, the boundaries between the Kalabari communities in Rivers State and the neighbouring Nembe communities of Bayelsa State have been clearly delineated, with the boundary clearly marked as the Santa Barbara River.
“The 11th edition of the administrative map prepared by the National Boundary Commission and the Federal Surveyor General’s Office in 1999, but published in 2000, strangely shifted the boundaries between Rivers and Bayelsa states from the initial boundary between Kalabari and Nembe, West of the Santa Barbara River, to San Bartholomew River, contrary to the delineation by all preceding administrative maps of Nigeria and all historical records.”
He stated that former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, had petitioned the chairman of the National Boundary Commission and then Vice President Atiku Abubakar in 2002.