Rivers, Imo Oil Wells Battle: NBC Clarifies They Are Independent Body, Not Party To It

Rivers, Imo Oil Wells Battle: NBC Clarifies They Are Independent Body, Not Party To It

By Deborah Musa, Abuja

The National Boundary Commission(NBC) on Tuesday exonerated itself from the alleged allegation layered on it by the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, in the oil wells dispute between Rivers and Imo states, with a phrase explaining that “We are an independent body, count us out”.

The commission denied all allegation of corruption and compromise layered against it by Governor Wike, in the oil wells dispute, emphasising that all its actions in the physical tracing and provisional demarcation of the Imo/Rivers boundary, were carried out as an independent body without interest in any side whatsoever.

Director General of NBC, Surveyor Adamu Adaji, addressing the media in Abuja alleged that Governor Wike, thwarted all efforts made by the commission in the physical tracing and provisional demarcation of the boundary between Imo and Rivers states.

He also noted that the commission was not a part of the legal battle between the two states over the oil wells dispute, the reason he couldn’t make out why the governor had chosen to ruin its image.

He said “Our attention has been drawn to several publications both on the conventional and social media on the accusation of corruption made against the National Boundary Commission by the Rivers State Government on the subsisting boundary disputes between Imo State and Rivers State. 

“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 in the fulfilment of our mandate, “he said.

Explaining the functions of the commission, he said, “The Commission’s function with respect to interstate boundaries includes; to intervene, determine and deal with any boundary dispute that may arise among states, local government areas or communities with a view to settling the disputes.”

“The Commission is also to, define and delimitate boundaries between states, local government areas or communities in the federation in accordance with delimitation instrument or documents established for that purpose. These functions are carried out in close collaboration with State and Local Government Boundary Committees”,he further explained..

Açcording to him,”It is very worrisome that boundary lines which are intended for administrative convenience tend to be misconstrued or deliberately interpreted as impediments and divisions in some quarters.”

He added that, The governor had spoken no lie when he said that the NBC has not demarcated the boundary.

He clarified saying:” This is so because of the state’s uncooperative attitude towards a peaceful resolution of the disputed portion.”

He added saying “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”, noting that “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 field work. 

“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. 

“It is so unfortunate, that the Rivers State Government chose not to understand the modus operandi of the Commission”