17 oil wells: Supreme Court shifts Rivers, Imo’s legal battle to Nov I

FILE PHOTO: Oil pours out of a spout at the Drake Well Museum and Park in Titusville, Pennsylvania U.S., October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Supreme Court has shifted the legal battle by Rivers and Imo states over ownership of 17 rich oil wells in their territories to November 1, 2021 for definite hearing.

The apex court fixed the date on Tuesday after the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as 1st defendant and Imo state as 2nd defendant formally made appearances through their lawyers, Dr Remi Peter Olatubura (SAN) and Chief Olusola Oke (SAN), respectively.

Justice Kudirat Motomori Kekere Ekun set the stage for determination of the suit instituted by Rivers state against its Imo state counterpart shortly after identifying some of the processes so far filed for and against the legal action.

The apex court had on Wednesday July 14 granted an order of injunction stopping the federal government and its agencies from ceding the 17 disputed oil wells located at Akri and Mbede to Imo state.

The order of injunction was granted to stop alleged implementation of the ceding of the 17 oil wells to Imo state pending the determination of the suit brought before it by the Rivers state government.

In a chamber ruling by the Supreme Court in an ex-parte application argued by Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), the apex court had restrained the Attorney General of the Federation and the Attorney General of Imo state from taking any further action on the ownership of the disputed 17 oil wells till the ownership disputes surrounding them are resolved.

The apex court also barred the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and the Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation from approving, implementing, or giving effect in any manner to a letter from RMAFC office, with reference number RMC/O&G/47/1/264 of July 1, 2021, which canceled the equal sharing of proceeds from the 17 oil wells by Rivers and Imo states.

However at the proceedings, Imo state through its lawyer Chief Olusola Oke informed the court that he had filed a motion on notice challenging the jurisdiction of the apex court to hear the suit as a court of first instance.

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