Monday, 5 November 2012

Rivers, Bayelsa Oil Dispute: No truce in sight

Despite the intervention by President Goodluck Jonathan to broker a truce between Bayelsa and Rivers States over some disputed oil wells, the war of attrition raged on.
 Amid recent recriminations between the two states, President Jonathan had met with a delegation from Rivers State at the State House, to broker a truce in the simmering disagreement between the two neighbouring states over the ownership of the oil wells.  Although he was initially billed to meet delegations from the two states, the president only met with that of Rivers, led by the governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi. No reason was given for the exclusion of the Bayelsa delegation from the meeting.
 According to a source at the meeting, which lasted more than one hour, the president explored means of peacefully reconciling the differences over what some indigenes of Rivers State claimed to be an attempt to excise some oil wells belonging to their communities.
Giving its account of the dispute, Bayelsa said while Soku is a village in Rivers State, the oil wells/oil field and the flow station are located in the Oluasiri clan in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. According to it, the name Soku oil wells/oil field was wrongly given by the Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd (SPDC) because Soku village was their operational base at that time.
The Bayelsa State Government explained that it was wrong for Rivers to now claim River Santa Babara as the boundary between the Kalabari people of Rivers State and the Nembe people of Bayelsa State, when in its White Paper of 1993 on the report of the Justice Peter B. Akere panel it rejected the river as the boundary landmark. It added that the 11th edition of the administrative map of Nigeria has confirmed River San Bartholomew as the boundary between Nembe of Bayelsa State and new Calabar (Kalabari) of Rivers State, which has metamorphosed into the boundary between the two states.

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