Soku Chiefs call for implementation of Federal High Court ruling

The Soku Council of Chiefs, elders and leaders yesterday commended Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike for his dogged struggle that led to the Federal High Court judgment that returned the Soku oil wells/fields to the state.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday, Chairman of Soku Council of Chiefs, Chief Telema Imoh said: “We the Council of Chiefs, elders, CDC, youth, women and entire people of Soku Community in Kalabari-Ijaw ethnic nationality in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State do hereby address the press and state as follows:

“Express our immense thanks to God Almighty for life on the victory surrounding the disputes of Soku land, oil wells/field and associated rights.

“We thank the executive governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Chief, Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for his doggedness, in securing the return of the illegally ceded Soku oil wells/field to Rivers State. We appreciate and identify with his developmental strides in the State.”

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The group added: “The whole issue recently started with the illegal ceding of Soku oil wells/field from Rivers State to Bayelsa State; with the issuance of the defective administrative map (11th edition) wherein the age-long inter-state boundary line was unilaterally shifted from Santa Barbara River to St. Bartholomew in favour of Bayelsa State by the National Boundary Commission (NBC).”

They pledged their loyalty and support to the governor, urging their Kalabari brothers and Ijaws to also support him.

“Efforts by the Government of Rivers State to correct the wrong constitutionally and constructively proved futile. This was even with the written admission and firm promise by the said NBC to correct the error in the administrative map of the (12thedition).

“The National Boundary Commission equally reneged on their assurance to all Parties not to apply the defective 11th edition of the administrative map in any official dealings. These are contained in their letter vide NBC. SEC.4/575/25 dated 23/07/2002, this led to the Rivers State Government going to Supreme Court in suit no. SC106/2009 for justice. The Supreme Court in its judgment on the 19th of July, 2012 stated the Rivers Case as premature. It ordered the NBC being the statutory body on the matter to complete its demarcation having admitted their errors earlier.

“Dissatisfied by this ugly scenario, the Rivers State Government under the leadership of His Excellency Chief, Barr. Nyesom Wike approached the Federal High Court Abuja, in suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/984/19 to effect the enforcement of the declarative judgment.

“Today the entire people of Soku Community are elated to thank God almighty, and the “Dike Oha Ikwerre” the Executive Governor of Rivers State His Excellency Chief, Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, for his fighting spirit, to bring back the illegally ceded Soku oil wells/field to Rivers State. The people of Soku cannot thank His Excellency enough for this declarative judgment delivered on the 16th December 2019. We wish to express our unalloyed support to the administration of Governor Wike. We call on the Federal Government to also act on this court Judgment,” the Soku Council of Chiefs stated.

Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area also thanked the governor for his support for the Soku people and the entire Kalabari Kingdom.

He said the immediate past administration in the state made so much noise about the Soku oil wells/fields but did nothing tangible to retrieve the oil Wells/fields. He said from the suit number, it was clear that Governor Wike initiated the legal action to correct the injustice.

Member Representing Akuku-Toru/Asari-Toru Federal Constituency, Rt Hon Boma Goodhead lauded Governor Wike for taking up the issue of Soku oil wells/fields and ensuring that the people get Justice.

She said the relevant authorities should ensure that the funds that have accrued to Soku Community and Rivers State are credited to their accounts.