Port Harcourt — The Nigerian Army, Six Division, Port Harcourt has said that it will not join issues with the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, over his allegations that the Army was deeply involved in oil theft and illegal bunkering activities in the state.
Recall that Governor Wike, recently accused the General Officer Commanding, GOC, of the Six Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Jamil Sarham, of running an illegal oil bunkering squad for the purpose of financing his quest to be appointed the next Chief of Army Staff.
The governor speaking during a courtesy visit by the Commander of JTF Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade at the Government House, also accused the GOC of compromising security in the state through illegal actions, as well as leaking of security details to criminals.
But the Nigerian Army, Six Division, Port Harcourt, described the allegations as not only reckless mischievous but false and a figment of Governor Wike’s imagination.
Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, said the campaign of calumny against Maj Gen Sarham by Governor Wike did not start today, while recalling that the governor in February 2019, had also accused the GOC of planning to assassinate him.
Iliyasu said the Six Division was requesting the Governor to take the most civilized and legitimate way of putting up a petition to the relevant authorities to make a point.
According to him, “Although the Nigerian Army does not wish to join issues with the Governor, yet it is important to strongly state that the allegations are false and a figment of Governor Wike’s imagination.
“It is a deliberate effort to tarnish the towering image of the Chief of Army Staff and the General Officer Commanding 6 Division. Needless to say that in response to many accusations against the Division, already some responsible individuals and groups in Nigeria have exposed the antics of Governor Wike against the leadership of the Division and the Nigerian Army.
“On the mischievous accusation against General Sarham leaking proceeds of State Security Council Meetings to criminals in Rivers State, Mr. Wike knows well that Maj Gen Sarham is not a member of the Rivers State Security Council, neither has he ever approached the gates of Rivers State Government House since his assumption of office as the GOC, 6 Division.”
The Nigerian Army further challenged Governor Wike to provide the public with any evidence of such meetings with Maj Gen Sarham in attendance.
The Army said the governor’s resentment and hatred for the Nigerian Army was as a result of the refusal of the GOC to receive a bribe from the governor to compromise the 2019 general elections.
“Accordingly, Wike’s allegation against Major General Sarham’s selfish involvement in illegal oil bunkering is another reckless, spurious and mischievous accusation.
“Consequently, 6 Division Nigerian Army wishes to reiterate its commitment to the protection of lives and properties as well as the protection of critical national infrastructure in its Area of Responsibility for the benefit of the nation.
“The Division wishes to also state that no amount of blackmail and Area boy gerrymandering will affect its resolve and commitment to discharge its roles professionally and in line with the vision of the Chief of Army Staff.”