Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Rivers State governments may soon be grinning from ear to ear to the bank following a profound Supreme Court judgment that is bound to swell their accounts and deplete what goes to multinational oil firms operating in the country.
Whether this will have a trickle-down effect to the average Niger Deltan, since all the States there will benefit, is another kettle of fish, but they have a judgment.
One of the ululating Governors assured the people of the Niger Delta and Nigeria that the law is available to address grievances instead of a resort to self help
The three states had approached the Supreme Court for interpretation of Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act.
The Section requires the Federal Government to adjust the shares of the revenue accruable to the federation, whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel.
The Supreme Court ordered the Federal Government to upwardly review the shares of revenue accruing to the government whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel.
It was celebration time in Bayelsa where the Governor Seriake Dickson spoke for his state and the two others.
In a statement from his office, he said the judgment demonstrated “the primacy of the law in the socio-economic emancipation of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the instrumentality of the government and people of Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States”, noting that the implication of the judgment was increase in revenues accruable to the federating states under the extant revenue sharing formula.
“We commend the Supreme Court of Nigeria for upholding the rule of law. The courageous intervention of the SCN in this case and other cases, is what is needed to bring confidence to the long suffering people and communities of the Niger Delta and the country at large.
“This judgement shows clearly that the judiciary is ready and has the courage in deciding cases to uphold the rights of oppressed people. We call on other courts in the judicial system to rise to the occasion in order to give the assurance that oil majors and oil block owners operating in our communities will respect the laws of the land.”
He noted that even before the first offshore swamp oil well was discovered under the particular Act by the Nigeria AGIP Energy, the price of crude oil had exceeded $20 per barrel being used as a benchmark to share oil revenues in the state.
Dickson implored President Muhammadu Buhari to give the necessary marching orders to relevant agencies to execute the court order for the best oof the citizenry.