Wednesday, 24 January 2018

76 Oil Wells ceded to A/Ibom : Justice Dahiru Mustapher's death incites tension in C/River!

Efio-Ita Nyok|24 January 2018 

NegroidHaven can confirm that the recent death of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mr Dahiru Musdapher, has incited critical comments back here in Cross River especially considering the relevance of one of his judgment to Cross River in favour of Akwa Ibom 6 years ago —the 76 oil wells controversial case. 

The critical comments by some Cross Riverians and Nigerians alike border on the late Musdapher allegedly collecting bribe from then-governor-now-Senate minority leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio, to the tune of N2 billion to sway the course of justice. 

Recall that the 7 justices of the court headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Dahiru Musdapher, who was outgoing at the time, in their ruling, submitted that the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) was correct in attributing the oil wells to Akwa Ibom at the inter-agencies meeting. That Cross River lost her status as a littoral state when the FG ceded the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon in 2008. The counsel to Akwa Ibom State Government (AKSG) was quoted as saying thus in respect of the case : 'By the virtue of the handing over of that part of Cross River to Cameroun, the state cannot claim to be a beneficiary of any oil well'. 

Simon Utsu, Ceejay Ojong, and a host of others have expressed opinions in respect of that judgment. See their comments :

Simon Utsu 
(Musdapher) 'he was the Chief Justice who signed off the 76 oil wells belonging to Cross River to Akwa Ibom circa 2012 in a controversial (Supreme Court) judgement which was purportedly influenced by the immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio. 

I followed that case up and can remember Barrister Obono-Obla (then a human rights activist), Representative Nkoyo Toyo and a handful of other renowned Cross Riverians running around TV stations (with nationwide coverage) a couple of months before the judgment was delivered, in a desperate bid to make a case for Cross River and probably influence the outcome of the judgement on moral grounds. 

Even though Governor Imoke's characteristic lukewarm and lackadaisical attitude contributed immensely to Akpabio having an edge over him in the politics that preceded the case making it to the courts. Though I have to commend the efforts of the then state attorney general, Barrister Attah Ochinke who did everything within his powers to make a case for Cross River. Then, Barrister Ochinke put up a couple of lengthy newspaper publications on national dailies giving very strong reasons why he felt his state was being giving a fair hearing and why he believed Governor Akpabio was interfering with the outcome of the judgement. All that came a little to late as the verdict went Akwa Ibom's way and since then, Cross River's finances (monthly FAAC allocation) haven't been the same. 

I clearly remember that Akwa Ibom state organized a golf tournament to celebrate (appreciate???) Justice Musdapher shortly after that judgment was delivered in their favour.

Well, Baba is dead so let bygones be bygones! Rest in peace Sir.

Ceejay Ojong
May the Lord Almighty have mercy on his soul since we are not expected to speak ill of the dead. But facts are facts and outlive us.    

And the facts are that:                                                                                      
1. The then CJN personally received N2 billion from AKS to sway that judgement against CRS. A then serving senator from CRS had set out to openly embarrass him at the floor of the Senate during the Senate Session of the hand-over ceremony to the new female CJN. He whispered it to a few colleagues in confidence. Next he saw were senior officials of the Supreme Court including two serving Justices coming to his house to admonish that he should not do that as it will be an embarrassment to the entire judiciary. He could only get away with taunting the man personally in the Senate Chambers with the sad fact of his misdeed of selling off the heritage of the people and generations unborn of Cross Riverians for that amount.  

2. The Governor of Cross River State took the matter to Court. It was a grievous mistake because he should have awaited the completion of UN joint boundary delineation Commission which would have clearly depicted that not every square inch of what was Bakassi LGA in Cross River was handed over to Cameroun and CRS was still a littoral State as it is. Unfortunately the argument that CRS is no more a littoral State was wrongly invoked by the Supreme Court to deny the State its oil wells. In addition, to what has been rightly said of the National Boundary Commission being induced, they wrongly used UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of Seas) to delineate the water boundaries between CRS and AKS, which shifted some but not all of the wells to AKS based on a version of the maps they produced. But UNCLOS is only to be used for delineating international maritime boundaries and not bodies of waters within a nation. Even so, UNCLOS provides that historical titles take precedence over the UNCLOs delineation. CRS owned the historical title.                                                                                                           
3. There was an existing political settlement and agreement brokered and signed by President Obasanjo, Gov. Attah of AKS, Gov. Peter Odili of Rivers State and Gov. Duke of CRS to the effect that CRS maintains: 76 oil wells, AKS: 100 oil wells and Rivers State: 86 oil wells in respect of the disputes the States had over oil wells. That should have been invoked and respected.                                                                             
4. When issues arose again in the subsequent Yar'dua Government, the President appointed then VP GEJ to chair the committee he empanelled to resolve the matter. Not much happened because of his later serious illness and unfortunate death. The then Minister of Finance was the Vice-Chair of that Committee and I was his senior special assistant on policy and institutional reform. I had the privilege through his office of reading in thorough detail the individual submissions NBC, RMFAC, CRS, AKS, Rivers State and Abia State made. It became evident to me that the snag for CRS in the case was her now being wrongly classified as a non-littoral State by RMFAC and NBC. RMFAC was then headed by Engr. Haman Tukur, whom it was gathered had a vendetta mission against Sen. Imoke then CRS Governor because he had removed him as GM of NEPA when Imoke was either Minister of Power or Presidential Adviser on Power prior to becoming Governor of CRS.

Diana-Abasi Alphonsus Udoh replying Utsu 
Wasn't the case initiated by the National Boundary Commission under the Late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua administration? 

The way the Supreme Court works is a democratic process. They sit 7 in such a case. So I believe he wasn't the only one that saw the merit of the case so let's not crucify him alone.

Just like you have concluded, let bygones be bygones

Mac Pherson Ojong replying Utsu
Are u also aware that for any matter that comes to d Supreme court, the Lead Judge(CJN) is d Alpha and Omega of any case, n to a greater extent, irrespective of d odds in or against his Favour?

The CJN is just like D US in the permanent membership of d UN Security Council, whereby whatever he decides stands, irrespective of others'.

Don't also forget d CJN wields d highest influence in d Supreme court and Judiciary at large. Why won't he coerce or lure others to do d bidding if (that's d only way possible).

Away from CJN, let's look at C Justices generally, (taking Nigeria vs Cameroon BAKASSI peninsula tussle). Did Nigeria loose the case because that territory rightfully belonged to Cameroon?

Or do u mean to say that Gilbert Guillaume (the Then Chief Justice of ICJ) gave a clear judgement on Merit?
No no no no no no no. He was influenced by powers that be, n he also influenced other co-judges.

Let's go back to antecedents in Nigeria's law history and u will know what am saying.

However, just like the poster captured, Let bye-gone be bye-gone.

Itoro Etti replying Utsu 
Stop misinforming people. How did cross river state came up with the ownership of the oil well? Try not to fool the uninformed

Ifere Paul 
Your Hero of Democracy was also lackadaisical to intervene on behalf of CRS. He even refused to set up a diplomatic settlement committee.

Lanky Ayi
I remember that year... The begining of our downfall as a geopolitical zone that was in power. While other governors like the northern governors forum the south west governors were all strategizing the south south governors were very busy carrying themselves to court over oil wells and playing midnight politics with NBC a group of people that I believe their main aim was to divide us along greedy lines..... Divide and rule shit was playing right us in the face and all my intellectual Niger Delta youths were very busy playing to the gallery..... How were we even supposed to be united... From the very head of Aso rock down to all the sitting governors at that time I have and still give them a solid F9 in that show of shambolic mediocre display that wasn't ever needed.....

Okahia Okahia
I was personally in that case. Then I was with Chief Bayo Ojo who represented Akwa Ibom. Talk of money, power, who know Who...

Leave leave am  there bros

Prince Thomas Abi Jr
Barr. Attah Ochinke, did a great job then. He wrote so many lengthy articles and did his best for the State. I remember that faithful day in 2012, the state went cold. It is well.

Tochukwu Obi 
Simon l disagree with you on this. The oil wells were given to Cross-Rivers by Obasanjo to spite Obong Victor Attah whom was an outspoken campaigner for resource control. Similarly, he (Obasanjo) also awarded oil wells that belonged to Abia State to Rivers State in order to punish Orji Uzor Kalu.

Alleged facts according to Ojong above suggests that Mustapher personally collected N2 billion. Hmmm! I am not a proponent of not talking about the dead, his material existence isn't my concern but the value-laden actions and inactions, we indulge in while alive. 

See where Cross River's economy is today, just because of the deliberate subterfuge of justice against Cross Riverians —I don't celebrate his life nor mourn his mortal exit. 

In fact, If I was in charge of a government MDA and had a flag of Nigeria, haven being instructed to fly at half mast, I won't fly the green white green at half mast —sincerely, I won't! 

Efio-Ita Nyok
Is a Blogger, the Editor-in-Chief & Publisher of NegroidHaven 

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