A seeming deft political move by the ousted Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, to take over two oil wells from Rivers State, has suffered a fatal blow in a Federal High Court, Abuja.
Like it did to Bayelsa State on the ownership of Soku oil wells worth over N720 billion, Rivers wrestled Ihedioha in a legal tussle.
Ihedioha who was sacked by the Supreme Court as Imo governor had while still on the saddle, written to President Muhammadu Buhari, demanding revenue from the Federal Account in respect of Mbede and Akiri oil wells.
Irked, the Nyesom Wike administration went to court over the matter.
Ihedioha had asked the Federal Government to direct the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to undertake payment of N15 billion to Imo for oil wells allegedly belonging to the state, but which are being counted for Rivers.
But a Federal High Court in Abuja has declared that Rivers is entitled to continue to receive and retain revenue from the Federation Account and other accounts maintained for the purpose in respect of oil revenue derived from oil wells within the territory of Rivers based on the 13percent derivation formula currently applied by the authorities.
The Court has accordingly restained the Federal Government and her agencies from deducting funds meant for Rivers in respect of the Mbede and Akiri oil wells.
Justice Tawo Tawo gave the ruling on Wednesday in an originating summons filed by the Attorney General of Rivers against the Attorney General of the Federation, the Attorney General of Imo, the Accountant General of the Federation, RMAFC and the Minister of Finance.
The Rivers Attorney General moved the originating summons: Pursuant to Order 3 Rule 6, 7, and 9 of the Federal High (Civil Procedures) Rules 2019 Section 7 of the National Boundary Commission (Establishment) Act Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the inherent jurisdiction of the Federal High Court as preserved by Section 6 (6) of the 1999 Constitution.
The Court further declared that Rivers (represented by the Plaintiff on record) is entitled to receive and retain revenue from the Federal Account as provided for under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) in respect of revenue drive from the oil wells generally referred to as Akiri and Mbede oil wells located within the Rivers territory.
Justice Tawo declares that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, represented by the 1st Defendant on record), are not entitled to give directives to the 4th Defendant with regard to distribution of public revenue from the distributable pool account, including the Federal Account and that they are not entitled to interfere in any manner whatsoever with the distribution of public revenue from the distributable pool account, including the Federation Account.
The Court held that Imo (represented by the 2nd Defendant) is not entitled to alter or cause to be altered, to deny or cause to be denied, whether through the instrumentality of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (represented by the 1st Defendant) or any manner howsoever the revenue due to Rivers in accordance with the principle and formula for distributing public revenue for the time being under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Justice Tawo declares that until the conflicting claims over Akiri and Mbede oil wells by Rivers and Imo (represented by the 2nd Defendant in this suit) are resolved by the National Boundary Commission, the 4th Defendant cannot deny Rivers its due share of public revenue under the Constitution (as it is currently being distributed), or in any manner after the sharing formula or reduce the share of public revenue due to Rivers on account of the claim of Imo State (represented by the 2nd Defendant) to the said Akiri and Mbede oil wells.