Leadership (Abuja)

5 September 2012

Nigeria: Anambra/Kogi Oil Wells - No Rightful Owner Yet - Investigation

The current dispute between Kogi and Anambra States over the ownership of an oil rich land may take more efforts to be resolved, LEADERSHIP's findings have revealed.

The dispute which follows President Goodluck Jonathan's declaration of Anambra as an oil producing state is currently generating controversy in neighbouring States of Kogi and Anambra.

However, LEADERSHIP investigations revealed that the matter will be subject to proper and thorough survey work to actually determine the rightful owners of the land.

Findings at the National Boundary Commission (NBC) revealed that the boundary between Anambra and Kogi States was last delineated in 1924 during the colonial era, and therefore calls for a fresh survey.

Officials at the Commission who preferred anonymity told our correspondent that the disputed land lies along the Niger valley.

"The matter is receiving full attention at the NBC. We are working towards resolving the dispute and soon the rightful owners will be determined. The issue is that the boundary between the states was last delineated in 1924.

"So a survey has to be carried out to determine the rightful owners of the land as the natural landmarks like hills and Iroko trees are not sufficient enough to determine such a sensitive matter especially now that oil is involved. You may find the hilltop, but not find the Iroko tree anymore," the official said.

The source added that another reason that makes the matter sensitive is the fact that it is a dispute between the South East and North Central, "so there is need for caution to be applied in handling the matter," the source added.

The source however, assured that just like the Akwa-Ibom/Cross River oil well dispute which was resolved amicably, the Kogi/Anambra dispute would also be amicably resolved, adding that there was no need for communities to engage themselves in acts of violence or take the law into their hands in laying claim to the land.

The argument by the Kogi people is that although the refinery is located in Aguleri Otu in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, the oil well which currently feeds the refinery is located in Odeke, in Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State, alleging that the oil producing status bestowed on Anambra State was wrong.

Meanwhile, Orient Petroleum Chairman, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, while speaking during the refinery commissioning ceremony had said the controversy over ownership of the oil deposits has been resolved adding that the bulk of the deposits are within Anambra territory, but Kogi contends that the area the company refers to as Anambra, is indeed within Kogi State.

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