May 11 (THEWILL) – The National Boundaries Commission (NBC) has assured Nigerians that it has not compromised on its principles in carrying out its duties.
The Director General of the Commission, Adamu Adaji, provided the clarification during a press briefing, while responding to corruption allegations made against the Commission by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, over border disputes. between Rivers and Imo states.
Adaji noted that Governor Wike was responsible for the boundary demarcation which had not yet been concluded, as several attempts had been made by the Commission and other parties to reach a resolution.
“This accusation came as a result of the dispute between Imo and Rivers States over their common border. The agreement to provisionally draw and demarcate the border on the ground could not be complied with at the request of the States , because the States were not ready.
“The Governor was absolutely correct in asserting that NBC did not delineate the boundary. This is so because of the state’s uncooperative attitude towards a peaceful resolution of the contested party.
“As early as January 2003, a joint meeting of officials on the Imo/Rivers interstate boundary was held in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, to deliberate on the modalities of the demarcation, but unfortunately the two states did not were obviously not ready for the physical demarcation tracing and the provisional demarcation of the border, the only success recorded was the decision on the relevant instruments to be used on the border which were identified as follows: Aboh 311 topographic sheets, Aba topographic sheets 32, Ahaoda Topographic Sheets 320, Oliver Topographic Sheets 312, State Creation Decree No. 14 of 1967 and State Creation Decree No. 12 of 1976.
“In its concerted efforts to carry out its core mandate, NBC again held another meeting in October 2011, in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, to review previous efforts and propose a new strategy to tracing and demarcation.
“Based on the previously displayed non-cooperative actions of the States and some other States, the National Boundaries Commission has decided never again to allow the apathetic nature of the States to interfere with the functions of the Commission.
“As a result, the NBC has decided to diligently pursue the agreements of the Joint Officials Meeting held in Abuja in March 2020. It was agreed at this meeting that the parties would meet on the documents to be used and thereafter, undertake sensitization campaigns in preparation for the planned fieldwork.
“Rivers State again reneged on the agreement and refused to participate in both the document screening and authentication exercise and other agreed actions, including participating in physical labor on the land, citing an ongoing court case over the issue of oil well ownership,” the NBC boss explained.
On the oil well case in the Supreme Court, Adaji said the Commission clarified the issue with the Rivers State government that it was bordering oil wells and had nothing to do with the mission of the Commission to determine the border between the two States.
The Boundary Commission boss pointed out that the Commission has never been interested in oil well disputes between the two states, explaining that the oil well ownership case is a legal case.
“We want to make it categorically clear that NBC has never been an interested party in the oil well disputes between Imo and Rivers States because that is not our mandate and therefore we have not never joined as a party to the interstate suit.
“It is therefore very insensitive for anyone to accuse the Commission of any collusive action when it is not an interested party in the case.
“The Commission is not involved in any court cases involving resource ownership along the border. It has nothing to do with a physical definition of the border,” he added.