From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
There are indications that President Goodluck Jonathan may have summoned the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, to Abuja over the current face-off between Rivers and Bayelsa states over five oil wells allegedly ceded to the latter. Amaechi along with Kalabari monarchs and elders insist that the oil wells were ceded, with the connivance of the presidency. Our sources stated that President Jonathan, miffed by this had called Governor Amaechi along with the Kalabari elders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting, our source said might take place this weekend. Though it was said to be a peace meeting that would calm the frayed nerves of stakeholders, the sources said President Jonathan was unhappy with the twisting of information by the Rivers State Governor and the Kalabari elders to suit themselves and rope him into something that had nothing to do with neither his person nor office.
The President, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Tuesday denied insinuations by the Kalabari National Forum and some monarchs that he was behind the border disputes between Rivers and Bayelsa states, with him allegedly behind plans to “cede five Rivers State oil communities to Bayelsa.” He described the allegations as irresponsible and most unfortunate, especially coming from people believed to be respectable in the society.
He said contrary to insinuations, the statutory Federal Government agencies alleged to be used by his government to pursue this unholy allegations, did not take orders from the president, they are independent bodies.
President Jonathan had said the dispute in question between Rivers and Bayelsa states predates his administration and had been a matter for consideration by the National Boundary Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and other relevant agencies, long before now.
He added that the matter had never at any time been brought before either him nor the vice president. The statement read in parts: “We consider these allegations irresponsible and most unfortunate considering the status of the persons who reportedly championed the protest. The statutory agencies being referred to by the protesters do not take orders from the President; they are independent bodies.
Besides, there are laid down procedures for resolving inter-state boundary disputes. “In this particular case, the dispute between Rivers and Bayelsa states predates the Jonathan administration and has been a matter for consideration by the National Boundary Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and other relevant agencies, long before now.
The matter has never at any time been brought before either the President or the Vice President.” Amaechi was quoted to have called on officials of the Bayelsa State Government to leave the oil wells of Soku and Elem-Sangama communities in Rivers State for Rivers people as they had been in existence even before the creation of Bayelsa State.
He said Rivers and Bayelsa states had never had issues with boundaries as the boundaries were well known to all. He noted that since the creation of Bayelsa State there had been no law or agreement ceding any part of Kalabari communities or Rivers State to Bayelsa State. —