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Supreme Court Resolves 17 Oil Wells Issue, Says Rivers State Is Owner Not Imo



The Supreme Court on Friday partly resolved the ownership dispute in 17 oil wells ownership in favour of the Rivers State government.

In a judgement prepared by Justice Ellen Ogunwumiju but delivered by justice Emmanuel Agim, the apex court dismissed the counter claim ownership put forward by the Imo State government.

According to Justice Agim, reliefs One, Three, Four, Five, and Six sought by the Rivers State government were granted by the court.

The court, however, refused to grant reliefs Two, Seven, and 10.

Among the reliefs granted include that oil wells within Akri and Mbede communities are all oil wells within the territories of Rivers State and form parts of the state only.

The court also agreed that the correct instrument, maps, and documents relied on determining the boundary, were those used by the Rivers State government in delineating the boundary line between both states.

It granted the relief that Rivers map showing boundary line between the state and Imo State represents the correct boundary between both states.

The apex court, however, refused the sum of N500,000 as a cost for the prosecution of the suit instituted by the Rivers State government.

It also refused an order directing the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to calculate and refund all revenue that have been wrongly denied to Rivers State or wrongly paid to Imo State.

Wike Extends Olive Branch

At the last adjourned date of February 7 when the parties adopted their final brief of argument, the AGF had prayed the court to dismiss the matter and direct Rivers State to go and file a suit before the Federal High Court.

In their grounds of argument, the AGF and Imo State said witnesses of the disputed area ought to be called to give evidence before the suit could be amicably resolved.

They demanded that the intervention of the National Boundary Commission would also be required to give evidence at the Federal High Court before any conclusion could be drawn.

But counsel to the Rivers State government, Joseph Daudu, opposed the demand of the AGF and Imo State and asked the apex court to dismiss it.

He argued that documentary evidence placed before the court were enough for the Supreme Court to resolve all issues in dispute in relation to the oil wells.

Before the matter got to the Supreme Court, there had been a political arrangement put in place by the administrations of former Governor Peter Odili of Rivers and former Governor Achike Udenwa of Imo for revenues from the disputed wells to be shared equally between the two states.

However, former Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo obtained a presidential memo when became governor in 2019, directing that all the revenues should be ceded to his state.

Displeased by the move, the Rivers State government approached the court to file a suit against the presidential directive

In his reaction, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court on the dispute between the two states.

Governor Wike lauded the court judgement on Friday at a stakeholders’ meeting which also culminated in a reception for the victory at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

He berated former Governor Emeka Ihioda of Imo State for jettisoning the political arrangement in what he described as a selfish move to acquire the entire proceeds from the wells in dispute.

The governor, who was addressing various leaders in Rivers at the meeting, also faulted the role of the National Boundary Commission in the dispute.

He, however, extended an olive branch to the Imo State government that his administration was open for talks without prejudice to the Supreme Court judgment.


Oil and Gas

N16.25tr lost to oil theft, $74.386b spent on fuel subsidy, says NEITI



Ogbonnaya Orji, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), stated that Nigeria has incurred a loss of over N16.25 trillion due to oil theft in the country. Orji reported this to the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Bamidele Salam, during an interactive session in Abuja. He also claimed that successive administrations have spent $74.386 billion on fuel subsidy since 2011. NEITI has compiled the actual subsidy amounts paid annually based on data from industry operators and stakeholders. Additionally, the agency has identified over $8.3 billion in unremitted revenue by some privately owned oil firms and federal government-owned agencies, which were not paid into the Federation Account as required by financial regulations. NEITI is working with enforcement institutions like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to recover these funds for the government.

Orji emphasized the need for transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector. He stated that they have collected data on revenues earned from oil and gas since 1999, as well as information on subsidy payments. He provided details on the substantial subsidy payments made, totaling $74.386 billion, and noted that NEITI also has a breakdown of annual payments.

Regarding oil theft, Orji revealed that $16.25 billion has been lost in Nigeria, and this data was obtained from various reports and records from operators and government agencies. NEITI’s reports provide empirical data, evidence, and information on how much companies pay to the government and how much the government receives, ensuring transparency and accountability in resource management.

NEITI plans to release a report on fiscal allocation and statutory disbursements on November 9, 2023, which will include information on the beneficiaries and how the funds were allocated and utilized by various government agencies and companies receiving funds from the extractive sector.

Orji acknowledged the cooperation between NEITI and the House Committee on Public Accounts and emphasized the importance of ensuring that companies pay what they owe, and the government receives what it is entitled to, for the benefit of all Nigerians.

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Promote Efficiency in Service Delivery, NDDC Boss Charges Directors



Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, has charged newly promoted Directors of the Commission to emphasize efficiency in the discharge of their duties.

Ogbuku, who made the call during the Opening Session of a Two-Week Capacity Building Workshop for NDDC Directors in Abuja, stated that providing quality service to the people of the Niger Delta was a collective responsibility of all the staff of the Commission.

The NDDC Boss, represented by his Chief of Staff, Rev. Julius Oworibo, said that the Strategic Management and Leadership Programme would equip the Directors to make critical decisions that would shape the course of the NDDC and the Niger Delta region.

Dr Ogbuku noted that the task ahead was enormous, stressing that the region was faced with a myriad of challenges, including environmental degradation caused by oil exploration and exploitation; inadequate infrastructure; educational disparities and healthcare deficiencies.

He stated: “Niger Delta region is not just a geographical entity; it is a place where dreams are born and nurtured, where cultures thrive, and where people’s lives are intertwined with the rich tapestry of our environment. It’s a region blessed with abundant natural resources, but also beset by unique challenges.

“The challenges that have plagued the Niger Delta for decades seems endless but not insurmountable. Concerted effort, strategic thinking, and unwavering commitment is required to tackle the challenges. This is where your role as Directors becomes pivotal. You are at the forefront of the battle for a better Niger Delta, armed not with weapons, but with knowledge, vision, and determination.”

Ogbuku said further: “As you take on your new roles as Directors, you are not just assuming positions of authority; you are embracing a profound responsibility to shape the destiny of our region.

“The NDDC’s mission is to facilitate sustainable development of the Niger Delta states, and your leadership is central to achieving this goal. We cannot afford to falter or stagnate; we must rise to the occasion with wisdom, courage, and innovation.”

The NDDC boss said that leadership, especially in the context of a complex organization like the NDDC, demanded a diverse skills set and a deep understanding of the region.

He challenged the Directors: “Lead with integrity, transparency, and a deep commitment to the people of the Niger Delta. Embrace innovation and collaboration as tools for progress. Champion inclusivity and diversity in your teams, for it is through diverse perspectives that we find the best solutions.

“To lead effectively, you must have a clear vision of where we are headed and the purpose that drives us. Our vision for the Niger Delta is one of inclusive and sustainable development. It’s a vision where every child has access to quality education, where healthcare is not a luxury but a right, where our environment is protected for future generations, and where economic opportunities abound.

“Your purposes as Directors is to turn this vision into reality, step by step, decision by decision. Let your leadership be guided by the principles of empathy and compassion.
Understand the daily struggles of the people you serve, and let their aspirations be your North Star”, he emphasized.

While calling for unity of purpose in the Commission, Ogbuku said “NDDC is not a collection of individuals working in isolation; it is a team bound by a common mission. Support one another, collaborate, and share knowledge and experiences. It’s in the synergy of diverse talents that we find innovative solutions to complex problems.

“Together, we will write a new chapter of progress and prosperity for our beloved region.”

The Director-General, Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, ASCON, Mrs. Cecilia Gayya thanked the NDDC for the confidence reposed in the College to collaborate with it to organize the Two-weeks Human Capacity Development Course for the newly promoted Staff to the rank of Directors.
She commended the Commission for pulling resources together for the Training Session aimed at promoting competence in delivering the core mandate of the NDDC.

Gayya stated that the current economic crunch in the country is a wake-up call to look inward and begin to do things differently, stressing “we must be more proactive, resourceful and committed to the ideals of innovation, creativity and resourcefulness in managing public resources”.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the NDDC Director of Human Resources and Administration, Mr. Patrick Ekade said the two-week programme was another step towards building the capacity of participants for effective delivery on the mandate of the NDDC.

Pius Ughakpoteni
Director, Corporate Affairs
September 19, 2023.

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Naira Slump: Fuel Price May Go Up, Say Marketers



The fall of the naira against the United States dollar, coupled with the recent rise in global crude oil prices, is making Nigerians apprehensive of a possible hike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.

Although the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and other oil marketers have not announced any increase in petrol price, they confirmed that the scarcity of foreign exchange and crude oil price rise were key factors that determined PMS price.

Petrol price moved up from N198/litre in May to over N500/litre in June after President Bola Tinubu removed subsidy on PMS.

The cost jumped again to over N600/litre in July, and there were concerns that it might rise further in August, going by the crash of the naira against the dollar.

The naira dropped below N900 against the dollar on Thursday at the parallel market. It also fell against the US dollar at the official Importers and Exporters forex window.

Also on Thursday, Brent, the global benchmark for crude oil, was traded at about $87/barrel. It traded for less than $80/barrel few weeks ago.

A resident of Abuja, Collins Nnabude, stated, “The crash of the naira against the dollar and the recent rise in crude oil price is making one apprehensive when you consider the effect on petrol price in Nigeria. Fuel price is likely going to rise again this month.”

Oil marketers also confirmed the possibility of another hike in petrol price this month.

The President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, said, “So long as the naira is losing against the dollar, the price of petrol in our retail outlets will continue to increase.”

He called on Tinubu to make sure that Nigeria’s refineries were put back to use.

According to him, “We have requested that the President should declare a state of emergency on our refineries in order to speed up their repairs.

“That is the one sure way to go, in order to be able to predict the price of petroleum products, because for now, every PMS you buy in any retail outlet is dollarised.”

Also speaking on the development, the National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Okonkwo, said the downstream oil sector had been fully deregulated and, the cost of PMS would continue to fluctuate.

“When there is deregulation and no subsidy, the price of petrol would either go up or come down. But if you want to profiteer, those who bring in and sell at cheaper rates would put you out of business.”

Also, oil marketers said, the Federal Government may likely intervene as crude oil price and ex-depot price of petrol had kept rising.

The National Controller Operations, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mike Osatuyi, told The PUNCH on Thursday that President Tinubu had promised to intervene, if necessary.

He said, “First of all, we must thank President Tinubu for removing fuel subsidies because the country would have been in big burden by now.

“In view of the rising prices of crude oil, we can now see that the quantity of petrol they said we used to consume had dropped. At the same time, we can see that price of crude oil is increasing, meaning; Nigeria would have more money in addition to the money the country has saved from subsidy removal. Then, since we have more money in the country, we have pay as petrol price keeps rising.”

He added, “Ex-depot price is now between N585 and N590 per litre depending on the depot, and it will either go up or come down, depending on crude price and exchange rate.

“But the president has said that there would be interventions if need be. So, we believe they are watching as the situation arises.”

Credit: The Punch

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