Rivers, Bayelsa Oil Dispute: Jonathan Fails To Secure Truce


The war of attrition between Bayelsa and Rivers States over some disputed oil wells raged on yesterday, notwithstanding Saturday’s intervention by President Goodluck Jonathan to broker a truce over the weekend.

The Bayelsa State Government, in response to Friday’s attacks by Rivers State, warned it to stop heating up the polity by whipping up sympathy for itself.

Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Markson Fefegha, in a statement, rebuked Rivers State for attempts to denigrate the presidency and also accused it of trying to incite disaffection between the Ijaws in the two states.

Amid last week’s recriminations between the two states, Jonathan had met with a delegation from Rivers State at the State House, to broker a truce in the simmering disagreement between the two neighbouring states over the ownership of the oil wells.

Although he was initially billed to meet delegations from the two states, the president only met with that of Rivers, led by the governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi. No reason was given for the exclusion of the Bayelsa delegation from the Saturday meeting.

According to a source at the meeting, which lasted more than one hour, the president explored means of peacefully reconciling the differences over what some indigenes of Rivers State claimed to be an attempt to excise some oil wells belonging to their communities.

However, Bayelsa on the heels of the meeting, said in the statement titled: “Soku/Oluasiri Oil Wells/Oil Field: Rivers State Government Should Stop Heating Up the Polity”, that having explained its position on the issue last Tuesday, it would have kept quiet if not for Rivers’ statement last Friday in which the state accused Jonathan of being part of the alleged plot to annex Rivers’ oil wells to Bayelsa.

“The Bayelsa State Government is compelled to issue this statement, though with restraint, to respond to the press statement of the Rivers State Government published in many national newspapers in the country to save the Ijaws, Federal Government agencies and the entire country from the desperation and lies of the Rivers State Government.

“For all intents and purposes, the said press statement of the Rivers State Government on the above issue was obviously intended to create a crisis amongst the peace-loving Ijaw people in Rivers and Bayelsa States and garner public sympathy for Rivers State.