The Nigerian Army has reacted to claims by the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, that the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division and Land Component Commander Operation DELTA SAFE, Major General Jamil Sarham, was involved in oil bunkering in the state.
Wike, who is at loggerheads with the Army chief, made the allegations against Sarham when he hosted a team of military personnel in his office last week. He alleged that Sarham was promoting illegal buckering in the Niger Delta region to enable him finance his ambition to be appointed the Chief of Army Staff.
Reacting to the governor’s allegation, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, Deputy Director Army Public Relations, in a statement released, said the claims were false and a deliberate effort to tarnish the towering image of the Chief of Army Staff and the GOC 6 Division.
“Recall that on 22nd February 2019, Governor Wike brazenly alleged that there was an attempt to exterminate his life by assassins organised by the GOC 6 Division. As weighty as the allegation was, we are yet to know any action taken by Mr Wike that guarantees his safety. Mr Wike has since failed to use civilised legitimate options to prove his allegations against Maj Gen Sarham.
“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.
“Mr Wike only came face to face with General Sarham on the 15th of January 2019 during the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Parade at Isaac Boro Park. However, the Nigerian Army challenge Wike to provide the public with any evidence of such meetings with Maj Gen Sarham in attendance.
“Accordingly, Wike’s allegation against Major General Sarham’s selfish involvement in illegal oil bunkering is another reckless, spurious and mischievous accusation. Hence, Headquarters 6 Division wish to request the Governor to take the most civilised way of putting up a petition to the relevant authorities to make a point”.
“Mr Wike’s resentment against the GOC is based on the latter’s choice of professionalism and integrity over the billions of naira offered to him by the Governor to compromise the 2019 General Elections. His refusal to be bought over and the rejection of such hefty offer is the genesis of Wike’s hatred and vociferous criticisms against Maj Gen Sarham.
“Consequently, 6 Division Nigerian Army wish 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” the statement read