Delivering judgment on Monday in a suit instituted by Rivers State, Justice Inyang Ekwo, of the Federal High Court, Abuja ordered the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to rectify the error in its 11th edition of Administrative Map, which designated San Bartholomew River as the boundary between the two states, instead of River Santa Barbara.
Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered the transfer of Soku oil field from Bayelsa to Rivers State, its rightful owner.
The error was said to have surfaced in the 11th edition of Administrative Map produced by the National Boundary Commission (NBC) in 2002.
The NBC was said to have in its letter dated July 3, 2002 in response to Rivers State Government’s protest admitted its mistake and promised to rectify it in the 12th edition of the administrative map.
The Rivers State Government filed a suit against the Attorney-General of Bayelsa State and the Attorney-General of the Federation before the Supreme Court in 2009 following the failure of the NBC to rectify the mistake.
In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Rivers State and ordered the rectification of the error. However by August 2019, when the mistake had yet to be corrected, the Rivers State Government instituted a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja solely against the NBC, seeking an order of mandamus compelling it to correct its error.
Granting the plaintiff’s prayers in his judgment delivered on Monday, Justice Ekwo ordered the commission to immediately produce the 12th edition of the Administrative Map restoring River Santa Barbara as the inter-state boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa States, as it was in 1996 when Bayelsa State was carved from Rivers State.
Justice Ekwo said the commission was duty-bound to obey the July 10, 2012 judgment of the Supreme Court which had affirmed River Santa Barbara as the boundary between the states, by immediately correcting its self-admitted error of designating River San Bartholomew as the boundary.
The Justice also ordered that the judgement be served on the relevant statutory bodies, especially; the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for them to immediately recompute the amount of oil revenue accruable to it with the transfer of the Soku oil field to Rivers State.