…As DPR urges Akwa Ibom Govt’s support to fight illegal gas plants***
The Bayelsa Government on Monday said it has appealed the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which ceded the disputed Soku oil wells between Rivers and Bayelsa to Rivers.
Solicitor General of the state, Mr Preye Agada, disclosed this during an interaction with newsmen in Yenagoa.
Agada, who led the state’s legal team to file the appeal on behalf of the state Attorney General, said that the state is seeking a stay of execution of the judgment pending determination of the appeal.
The judgment was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo on December 26, 2019.
Agada said that the lower court delivered judgment against the state without joining it as a party in the suit.
He noted that in the motion on notice in the suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/984/2019, Bayelsa was not served the processes in the suit before the lower court delivered the said judgment.
He said that the state government had also sought an order of the court to appeal the judgment as an interested party in the suit between the Attorney General of Rivers State and the National Boundaries Commission.
The solicitor general said that the state had written all relevant federal agencies to stay action on the enforcement of the judgment.
The agencies include the Attorney General and Minister of Justice; the Minister of Finance; the Accountant General of the Federation; the Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission; and the National Boundary Commission.
He added that the contested oil wells, which Rivers described as Soku Oil Wells are in Oluasiri in Bayelsa, stressingd that Bayelsa had been receiving the 13 per cent derivation accruing from the oil wells for a long time.
He explained that Bayelsa government had been waiting for Rivers and the National Boundaries Commission to cooperate with the Supreme Court directive to properly delineate the disputed areas in the affected areas once and for all.
The Solicitor General said that it was regrettable that Rivers government, which pulled out of the boundary delineation exercise in 2013, surreptitiously filed the action after years of inactivity.
He appealed to the people of the affected communities who are all Ijaw people to await proper delineation of the boundaries, which he said did not have any effect on the historical ties and relationship between them.
In the meantime, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Eket Field Office, has called on the state government to support the fight against illegal gas plants in the state.
The Operations Controller of DPR in Akwa Ibom, Mr Tamunoiminabo Kingsley-Sundaye made the call on Monday in Uyo.
Kingsley-Sundaye said that the state government should be involved by telling the owners of the illegal gas plants to remove their businesses as most of them did not have engineering and safety environmental standards.
“Why we want the state government to be involved is that the state government, by the Nigeria Land Use Act, the use of land is in the hand of state government apart from the Federal Territory Abuja.
“We need the support of the state government to ensure that Akwa Ibom gets rid of illegal gas outlets in the state,” kingsley-Sundaye said.
He maintained that the department was aware of illegal gas plants since last year and they had written to the state government for support.
“We have heard what happened in Kadunna, we have heard what happened in Lagos, we cannot sit and wait for such to happen in Akwa Ibom.
“The illegal gas plants business did not have engineering and safety environmental standards, they are not known by law and they did not also not comply with both International or Local guidelines,” he explained.
Kingsley-Sundaye said that the illegal gas plants business would not be allowed in the state, adding; “It is resellers business (cylinder exchange) that is allowed and meets engineering and safety environmental standards.
He condemned in strong terms the proliferation of illegal gas plants springing up in residential areas across the state.
The Operation Controller said that the department had organised sensitisation workshop to educate owners of illegal gas outlets on the dangers of gas plants in the state.
He explained that the department had sealed a lot of the illegal gas plants with the support of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in the state.