Wednesday 31 October 2012

Jonathan denies involvement in Rivers/Bayelsa boundary dispute

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has denied any involvement in a boundary dispute between Rivers and Bayelsa states.

The presidency, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, in Abuja, on Tuesday, said those behind a protest in Abuja, where Jonathan was accused of orchestrating plans to cede five Rivers State oil communities to Bayelsa State, were engaging in an exercise of blackmail.

The statement noted that the dispute in question predated President Jonathan-led administration and had never be brought before him for any action.

“Our attention has been drawn to a publication in some newspapers today about a protest staged by the Kalabari National Forum and some monarchs in Abuja, in which the so-called protesters accused President Goodluck Jonathan of interfering in a boundary dispute between Rivers and Bayelsa states.

“The protesters alleged, directly and through innuendoes, that there are plans to cede five Rivers State oil communities to Bayelsa with the connivance of various Federal Government agencies under the watchful eyes and supervision of the president, whose home state, most ingloriously, is the direct beneficiary.”

“We consider these allegations irresponsible and most unfortunate, considering the status of the persons who reportedly championed the protest.

“The statutory agencies being referred to by the protesters do not take orders from the president; they are independent bodies. Besides, there are laid down procedures for resolving inter-state boundary disputes.

“In this particular case, the dispute between Rivers and Bayelsa states predates the Jonathan administration and has been a matter for consideration by the National Boundary Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and other relevant agencies, long before now,” the statement read.

The statement condemned the motive, saying that it was surprising that a personality of Alabo Graham Douglas, himself being a former minister, would team up with a group bent on causing disaffection between the president and his Ijaw kinsmen.

“We advise the Kalabari National Forum, its members and hidden sponsors to avoid the temptation to instigate conflict between the Nembe and Kalabari people of Rivers and Bayelsa states, who are both of the same Ijaw stock,” it added.

The president appealed to the people of Rivers and Bayelsa to refuse to be dragged into the politics of conflict being orchestrated by individuals pursuing a hidden agenda

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