Wike frustrated Imo-Rivers boundary dispute reconciliatory efforts

Wike frustrated Imo-Rivers boundary dispute reconciliatory efforts

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The Presidency on Tuesday faulted claims by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, that the National Boundaries Commission is corrupt.

The government said instead of cooperating with the NBC in the boundary dispute between Imo and Rivers States, Wike frustrated every effort made by the commission to demarcate the boundary.

The PUNCH reported that Wike had advised the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to beam his searchlight on the activities of the NBC, claiming that the organisation now personified corruption in Nigeria.

The governor spoke at a thanksgiving service held at Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Port Harcourt on Sunday over the victory of Rivers State at the Supreme Court in the oil well dispute between it and Imo State.

“Unfortunately, the most corrupt national agency is the National Boundary Commission. Corruption is personified in NBC.

“If Mr. President is fighting corruption, he should leave innocent individuals and go to these agencies where corruption is personified. I’ve never seen people who believe anything they do must be for money”, he said.

But the DIrector-General of NBC (a parastatal of the Presidency), Adamu Adaji, who made the clarification during a press conference in Abuja said, despite the Supreme Court judgement on the disputed oil well between Imo and Rivers states, the commission would go ahead to delineate the physical boundary.

He said, “We will continue to do our work. The ruling of the Supreme Court was on the disputed resources not on the physical boundary.

“In a concerted effort to carry out its core mandates of intervening, determining, and dealing with boundary dispute, the NBC scheduled and held several meetings with the two states involved. We fixed a meeting in April 2020 for the two states but got a call from the Secretary to the Rivers State Boundary Commission few minutes to the commencement that they won’t come on the instruction of Wike.

“It is unfortunate that Rivers State has reneged on several agreements with the commission and refused to participate both in screening and authentication of document exercise and other action including partaking in the physical fieldwork, but now turn around to accuse the commission of being corrupt.

“We want to make it categorically clear that the NBC was never an interested party in the oil wells disputes between Imo and Rivers as it is not our mandate and so we never joined as a party in the suit between the states.

“It is, therefore, very insensitive for anybody to accuse the commission of any collusive actions when she is not an interested party in the case.

“We vehemently deny any act of corruption in its conduct in respect to the Imo/Rivers interstate boundary and any other one for that matter and we wish to further reassure all parties and stakeholders that we will continue to engage all and remain focused on the fulfillment of our mandate.

“As far back as January 2003, a joint meeting of officials on the Imo/Rivers interstate boundary was held in Owerri to deliberate on the modalities of the demarcation but unfortunately both states were evidently not ready for the physical tracing and the provisional demarcation of the boundary.

“The only success recorded was the decision on the relevant instruments for use on the boundary which were identified as: Aboh Toposheets 311, Aba Toposheets 32, Ahaoda Toposheets 320, Okigwe Toposheets 312, State creation Decree No. 14 of 1967, and State creation Decree No. 12 of 1976.

“In its concerted efforts to carry out its core mandate of intervening, determining, and dealing with boundary disputes, the NBC again held another meeting in October 2011 at Port Harcourt to review the previous efforts and come up with a new strategy for the tracing and demarcation.

“Based on the uncooperative actions previously displayed by the states and some other states, the National Boundary Commission resolved never again to allow the apathetic nature of the states to impede on the commission’s functions.

“Consequently, the NBC resolved to pursue the agreements of the joint meeting of officials held in Abuja in March 2020 diligently. It was agreed at that meeting, that parties would meet on documents to be used and thereafter undertake sensitisation campaign preparatory to the scheduled fieldwork.

“In its characteristic manner, Rivers State again reneged on the agreement and refused to participate both in the screening and authentication of documents exercise and other agreed actions including to partake in the physical fieldwork citing a pending court case on the issue of ownership of oil wells.

“The commission categorically made it clear to the Rivers State government that the case in court bothered on the ownership of the oil wells and had absolutely nothing to do with the NBC’s assignment to determine the interstate boundary between Imo and Rivers states.

“Having earlier resolved that the commission would no longer “wait on” states that do not wish to participate before doing that which is necessary for peace to reign, the NBC proceeded with the conduct of its work of the physical tracing and provisional demarcation of the Imo/Rivers boundary.”

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