The Federal Government yesterday asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the suit filed by the Rivers State Government seeking to stop it from ceding 17 disputed oil wells to Imo State.
The FG through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice further prayed the apex court to vacate an order of injunction it issued on July 14, which stopped the process of ceding the oil wells located at Akri and Mbede, to Imo State.
The apex court had earlier in a chamber ruling delivered in the matter, ordered FG and its agencies to halt actions pertaining to alleged plan to cede the oil wells to Imo State, pending the determination of the suit that was brought before it by the Rivers State Government.
The court’s ruling was premised on an ex-parte application Rivers State argued through its Counsel, Emmanuel Ukala, (SAN). The Supreme Court specifically restrained the AGF and the Attorney General of Imo State from taking any further action on the ownership of the disputed 17 oil wells, pending resolution of legal issues surrounding its ownership.
It further 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, dated July 1, 2021, which cancelled the equal sharing of proceeds from the 17 oil wells by Rivers and Imo states.
At the resumed proceedings in the matter on Tuesday, counsel to the FG, Dr. Remi Olatubura (SAN) and that of Imo State, Chief Olusola Oke (SAN), who are 1st and 2nd Defendants in the matter, made their formal appearances in the case.
While FG, said it filed a counter-affidavit against the Writ of Summons Rivers State lodged with respect to the disputed oil wells, on its part, Imo State said it also filed a motion on notice to query the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to hear the case as a court of first instance.
Counsel to Imo State, Oke contended that since Rivers State brought the suit to challenge the action of some Federal Government agencies and not the FG itself, the matter ought to have been instituted before a Federal High Court instead of the Supreme Court.
Responding, lead counsel to Rivers State, Joseph Daudu (SAN), asked for seven days to file his reply on points of law to the motions by the two Defendants. A full panel of Justices of the apex court led by Justice Kekere Ekun, adjourned the case till November 1 to hear all the pending motions.