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Supreme Court adjourns hearing in disputed oil wells suit involving Rivers, others to Jan 17

By Ann Godwin (Port Harcourt) and Ameh Ochojila (Abuja)
02 November 2021   |   2:14 am
The July 14,2021 Supreme Court order of injunction restraining the Federal Government and its agencies from ceding oil wells in Akri and Mgbede, Rivers State to Imo State, subsists.

The July 14,2021 Supreme Court order of injunction restraining the Federal Government and its agencies from ceding oil wells in Akri and Mgbede, Rivers State to Imo State, subsists.

At the resumed hearing of Suit No. SC.1037/2020 filed by Attorney General of Rivers State (plaintiff) vs Attorney General of the Federation and others (defendants), yesterday, the apex court adjourned the case to January 17, 2022 for hearing of the substantive issue.

The disclosure was contained in a statement issued by Kelvin Ebiri, Special Assistant (Media) to Governor Nyesom Wike, wherein the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Attorney General of Imo State failed to set aside the ex parte order.

The governor physically witnessed the legal battle where the ownership of 17 oil wells in the territories of the two states is the bone of contention. He was in the courtroom for the over two hours the preliminary hearing lasted.

Wike refused to address reporters at the end of proceedings. The January 17 date was chosen after the AGF and Imo State as first and second defendants formally regularised their processes filed to counter the claims of Rivers State on the disputed oil wells.

Counsel to the AGF, Dr. Remi Olatubora, SAN and Chief Olusola Oke, SAN for Imo State opted to regularise their new processes after which preliminary hearing was completed.

Consequently, the seven-member panel of the apex court, led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, thereafter adjourned the matter till next January for hearing in the substantive matter.

A member of the Rivers team, Sebastian Hon SAN, told journalists outside the court that on the next adjourned date, all interlocutory applications would be withdrawn and the substantive issue heard.

“There is a boundary dispute with respect to some oil wells against Imo State. But we joined the Attorney General of the Federation who is a necessary party, because of the regulatory bodies like the National Boundary Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Committee, etc that are federal agencies,” he clarified.

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