Worried by the dimension of the disagreement between Rivers and Bayelsa states over oil wells, President Goodluck Jonathan may have convened a meeting between representatives of the two states to find an amicable solution to the disputes.
It was gathered that the president was unhappy that some elders in Rivers State were trying to rope him into the dispute with the insinuation that he may have been personally involved in the controversy over disputed oil wells in favour of Bayelsa state.
The meeting which is scheduled for this weekend is aimed at calming frayed nerves and is to be led by the governors of Rivers and Bayelsa states.
It would be recalled that President Jonathan had in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, Tuesday, denied insinuations by the Kalabari National Forum and some monarchs that he was behind the border disputes between the Rivers and Bay 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, do not take orders from the President; they are independent bodies.
Jonathan had said the dispute in question between Rivers and Bayelsa states predated 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 or 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 have 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.