The National Boundary Commission (NBC) Director-General, Adamu Adaji, has replied to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on his recent allegation of corruption against the commission, describing the outburst as “mischievous’’.
Adaji maintained that the allegation was a mischievous act to cover the state’s inability and lackadaisical attitude toward settling boundary issues.
NBC head made the response during a news conference Tuesday in Abuja.
The NBC boss said that the commission could not be corrupted by any one or an institution because the Imo and Rivers’ boundary issues were ongoing and being handled by the commission.
“The boundaries between the two states have not been demarcated; this is because of the Rivers’ uncooperative attitude toward a peaceful resolution of the disputed portion.
“The NBC’s intervention into the Imo/Rivers boundary started as far back in 2003, where a joint meeting of officials from the two states was held in Owerri to deliberate on the modalities for the demarcation.
“But unfortunately, both states then were evidently not ready for the physical tracing and the provisional demarcation of the boundary.
“The only success then was the agreement on the relevant documents for use on the boundary, which were identified as Aboh Toposheets 311, Aba Toposheets 32, and Ahaoda Tooosheete 320,
“Others were the Okigwe Toposheets 312, State Creation Decree No.14 of 1967 and the State Creation Degree No.12 of 1976,” Adaji said.
Adaji recalled that the NBC again held another meeting in October 2021in Port Harcourt to review the previous efforts and to come up with a new strategy for the tracing and demarcation.
He said based on the uncooperative actions by the states, the NBC resolved never again to allow the apathetic nature of the states to impede on its functions.
“Going forward, we wrote the two states letter for a meeting in March 2020, and the governor of Rivers called me and requested that the meeting should be held on a neutral ground, so NBC agreed that it should held in Abuja.
“So, we held the meeting in March 2020 in Abuja, consequently, the NBC resolved to pursue the agreement of the joint meeting of officials of both states.
“It was agreed at the meeting that parties should sensitize their people before the field work on tracing and demarcation to be carried out in May. Imo did, but Rivers never sensitised their people.
“It was also agreed that both states would meet in the first week of April on documents to be used.
“On April 6, 2020, the scheduled day for the meeting, the government of Rivers called again that the state would not attend the meeting based on the directive by the state governor Wike, citing a pending court case on the issue of ownership of some wells.
“By this, Rivers refused to participate both in the screening and authentication of documents exercise and other agreed actions; Rivers refused to partake in the physical field work.
“However, the commission made it categorically clear to the government of Rivers that the case in court bothered on the ownership of Oil Wells and not NBC’s assignments and the mandate to determine the interstate boundary,” Adaji said.
He said that NBC was not joined in the court matter.
Adaji said it was unfortunate that the government of Rivers chose not to understand the modus operandi of the commission and thus spreading false and unfounded allegations against the commission.
According to the NBC boss, it is very worrisome that boundary lines which are intended for administrative convenience tend to be misconstrued or deliberately interpreted as impediments and divisions in some quarters.
He emphasized that NBC was never an interested party in the oil well disputes between Imo and Rivers as it is not its mandate, reiterating that the NBC never joined as a party in the suit between them.
Adaji stressed that it was absolutely insensitive for anybody to accuse the commission of any collusive actions when the commission was not an interested party.
“We vehemently deny any act of corruption in our conduct in respect to the Imo/Rivers interstate boundary and any other one for that matter.
“The allegation by Rivers’ government is a mischievous act to cover its inability and lackadaisical attitude towards addressing boundary disputes.
“We wish to further reassure all parties and stakeholders that we will continue to engage all and remain focused in the fulfillment of our mandate.
“The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is our Chairman. We are incorruptible, just and diligent.
“We will not allow any state to frustrate our work and efforts; we are always transparent in the delivery of our mandate. We also work with State Boundary Committees and Local Government Committees.
“The Supreme Court ruled on natural resources not on boundaries and we will continue our work. We cannot compromise in the course of our work because it will stand the test of time,” Adaji said.
Recall that the Supreme Court recently gave judgement on 17 oil wells in favour of Rivers against Imo.
Also, in celebrating the victory, Wike accused NBC for being corrupt in the delivery of its mandate.