Chairman, Senate Committee on Business and Rule, Senator Ita Enang, yesterday ruled out bad blood between Akwa Ibom and Cross River states over the Supreme Court judgment on 76 oil wells. Enang, who represents Akwa Ibom Northeast, said Akwa Ibom State was already working to ensure that there is no bad blood arising from the ruling.
He said: “The Supreme Court has not ceded 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State . The Supreme Court has simply confirmed the ownership of the oil wells which belonged to Akwa Ibom State . “Remember there was a judgment of the Supreme Court prior to the implementation of the judgment of the International Court of Justice as to whether Cross River State is a littoral state.
“The Supreme Court at that time ruled that for Cross River State to be an oil state depended on the implementation of the judgment of ICJ. “The Supreme Court ruled that if Bakassi remains as part of Nigeria under the Green Tree Agreement, Cross River State will not have access to the sea. If Bakassi goes to Cameroun, Cross River State remains a land-locked state and does not have access to the sea.
“Having access to the sea will give you the benefit of what comes from the sea, the off shore oil. “We have the judgment; we are very pleased with the Supreme Court for maintaining the principle of judicial precedent.
A cross section of Akwa Ibom State indigenes yesterday hailed the judgment.The verdict finally ended the anxiety, apprehension and tension that enveloped the state since the legal battle began. The State Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Dr. Amadu Attai, commended the Supreme Court for deciding the case on its merit.
The ACN chairman said with the ruling coming in favour of the state, it would enable the state government to concentrate on developing the state. His words: “The people of the state are happy as such would make the state government to concentrate on its development strides. “It would make the governor to concentrate more, the case was a sort of distraction to government, the governor would now be committed to the development of the state, if the judgment had been otherwise, it would have dealt a big blow on the state.”
A member representing Nsit Ubium in the State House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, described the Supreme Court judgment as justice for the people of the state. Luke explained that the verdict is a landmark judgment for the people of the state as it would allow the state government to concentrate more on its electoral promises to the people of the state. His words: “Akwa Ibom people are happy and have confidence in the judiciary particularly the Supreme Court being the apex court in the land. It is a justice for the people of Akwa Ibom state.” Former Secretary of Civil Liberties Organisation in the state, Ekanem Ekanem, advised government to make good use of the resources that would accrue to the state based on the judgment.
Ekanem said: “It is a good development for Akwa Ibom people; it would enhance development, not embarking on project that would not have direct bearing on the ordinary Akwa Ibom person. “What we need now are basic infrastructures and or necessity of life such as good roads, constant power supply and housing at affordable rate, raise the standard of living of the common man in the state.”