War Over Crude: Anambra , Kogi Reps Clash Over Oil Well

By KayCee July 1, 2014 16:16

Two members of the House of Representatives exchanged hot words on Tuesday over the disputed crude oil reserves in the Anambra Basin.

The lawmakers were the Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife, and Mr. Ismail Hussein.

Ekwunife, a member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, is from Anambra State, while Hussein, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, represents Idah/Ibaji/Igala-Melu Federal Constituency of Kogi State.

A brief finger pointing and shouting took place after Ekwunife protested against the choice of words used by Hussein, who was raising a motion on the controversial oil well.

The mild drama started as Hussein moved a motion on urgent public importance to draw the attention of the House to the unresolved dispute between the people of Kogi State and their Anambra neighbours over the oil well.

Hussein had sought that the House Committee on Special Duties should be mandated to look into the matter, with a view to resolving the boundary dispute between the two states.

However, while presenting the motion, he had alleged that the Anambra people had been killing their Kogi neighbours.

His submission angered Ekwunife, who stood up to oppose Hussein.

The session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, became charged, as Ukwunife raised her voice‎ to counter Hussein.

She said the Anambra people were “wrongly accused of being killers” when “in fact”, it was the Kogi people who had been doing the killing.

 She shouted, “No, no, Mr. Speaker, Kogi people have been killing Anambra people.

 “It is wrong for him to come here and say we are killing Kogi people.

 “Anambra people are not killers; we are not killers.”

She also dismissed the motion as unnecessary since there was a pending referral on the same subject to the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream)‎.

As she resumed her seat, Hussein too complained that he did not see what was wrong ‎with his presentation.

“This was just a motion; there is a crisis on ground, which has to be resolved,” he complained to some of his colleagues sitting close to him.

Part of his motion read, “To urge the Federal Government to mobilise the security agencies to man the border between Ibaji Local Government in Kogi and Anambra States as a matter of urgency.

Urge the Committee on Petroleum Upstream and Special Duties to submit their report as quickly as possible to prevent further destruction to lives and properties.

 “The Federal Government should as a matter of urgency make a categorical statement on the claims of ownership of the oil wells.”

 Tambuwal stepped in quickly to douse tension.

He noted that he was aware that the matter had been “very contentious,” a reason why he did not want to allow a prolonged debate on it.

The speaker ruled that Hussein should withdraw his motion pending the outcome of the investigation by the Committee on Petroleum Resources.

He directed the committee to produce its report on Tuesday, next week.

it will be recalled that fighting between communities in both states along the Anambra Basin has claimed lives since 2013.

The fighting has been fierce between the people of Echenwo/Odeke in Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State and the people of Agulerii-Otu in Anambra-East Local Government of Anambra State.

The Senate, last year, described the fighting as “war over crude oil.”

Findings showed that both sides laid claim to stakes in the oil well.

While on the Anambra side, there is a plan to build a private refinery that will tap crude oil from the disputed well, the Kogi people insist that they should benefit more from the proceeds because the well is located on their land.



By KayCee July 1, 2014 16:16