Supreme Court Decision on Akwa Ibom`s Oil Wells Unfortunate - Ekpotu
21 Mar 2011
The Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Engr. Patrick Ekpotu, has described last week's decision by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, ceding 86 oil wells hitherto belonging to Akwa Ibom State, to its neighbour, Rivers State, as surprising, worrisome and unfortunate.
Speaking with journalists in Uyo, today, Ekpotu, who doubles as the Chairman of the State's Boundary Committee, contended that for the Supreme Court to base its decision on an agreement between two State governors, and not on technical and historical arguments, it had invariable empowered State governors to adjust their common boundaries without recourse to the National Boundary Commission.
For him, the essence of the National Boundary Commission has been threatened by the Supreme Court for not allowing the Commission to play its constitutional role, or itself following constitutional provisions in the matter. He explained that the Commission was set up in the aftermath of the ceding of parts of Nigeria to Cameroon through an agreement signed between then Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, and his Cameroonian counterpart, Ahmadu Ahidjo, to prevent a recurrence of such a unilateral signing off portions of its land to a neighbour by any political leader in the country,
The Deputy Governor reasoned that if State Governors were disallowed from creating Local Government Areas, a matter which only affects their States, as was the case with Lagos State; it became curious that an agreement by two governors of neighboring States could adjust boundaries of their States.
Describing the judgment as a bad precedent, he warned that if the Supreme Court's decision is not reviewed, then the country could in the future witness governors of States bordering other countries, entering into agreements with such countries signing off parts of their States to those countries.
On the way forward, given that the Supreme Court is the last rung on the country's litigation ladder, Engr. Ekpotu tasked legal minds in the country to rise up and prevail on the Supreme Court to review itself on the issue.