Port Harcourt — The Nigerian Army, Six Division, Port Harcourt has denied allegations that its soldiers are engaged in the sale of seized petroleum products recovered from anti-bunkering operations in the Niger Delta region.
This is following the allegation by the lawmaker representing Ugheli North, Ugheli South, Udu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Francis Waive, that men of the Nigerian Army were engaged in the sale of seized petroleum products in the region.
But the General Officer Commanding, Six Division, Major-General Felix Agugo, said there was no truth in the allegations by the Lawmaker, as its soldiers have always acted professionally in their assigned task.
Agugo, in a statement by the Acting Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Major Charles Ekeocha, described the allegations as false and motivated by the lawmaker to discredit the efforts of the Nigerian Army to fight illegal bunkering in Delta State.
He called on stakeholders in the Niger Delta to refrain from making unfounded allegations against the Nigerian Army, urging them to continue to provide useful information and evidence to the Division, on erring soldiers to enable it take disciplinary actions for any untoward act.
According to him, “It is quite unfortunate that Hon. Francis Waive, decided to be economical with the truth, with his spurious, baseless, unfounded and speculative allegations.
“Soldiers from the 6 Division, comprising Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States are well trained and would not do anything that would bring name of the Army into disrepute.
“Contrary to the allegations by the lawmaker, the division has done very well in the fight against illegal bunkering and would not be deterred by some disgruntled members of the public.”
The GOC, however, warned that he would not condone any act of indiscipline and lawlessness from soldiers as anyone found wanting, would be arrested and made to face disciplinary actions, to serve as a deterrent to other criminally-minded personnel of the division.
“Thorough and discreet investigations were carried out and it was discovered that the allegations by the Delta legislator were false and motivated by ulterior motive, intended to discredit the efforts of the Nigerian Army to fight illegal bunkering in Delta State and other parts of the Niger Delta, as troops usually destroy or burn seized petroleum products at the various sites, with the processes usually recorded and officially reported.
“It is pertinent to also state that the seized trucks/vehicles of the illegal bunkerers/refiners are usually handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agencies, for further investigations and possible prosecution.”
While noting that some relics of burnt vehicles at the Tactical Headquarters of Operation Delta Safe, OPDS in Delta State were not fresh, Gen Agugo, said they were burnt in 2018 during the conduct of Exercise Crocodile Smile III, and assured that they would soon be cleared.
He assured that the soldiers would continue to uphold integrity and professionalism, while riding illegal bunkering in the region.