Coalition exonerates Army, GOC of complicity in Wike's oil bunkering allegation

Coalition exonerates Army, GOC of complicity in Wike's oil bunkering allegation

- A group has called on Governor Nyesom Wike to apologise to the Nigerian Army and the GOC 6 Division over the oil bunkering allegation

- The group said its investigations shows that all allegations against the GOC and the Nigerian army by the governor are false

- According to the group, there are no such operations spearheaded or supported by the Nigerian Army in the south south region as alleged by the governor

A report by the Coalition for Human Rights and Good Governance has exonerated General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army of the allegations of oil bunkering against him by the the state governor, Nyesom Wike.

The report by the human rights group said there was no iota of truth in the claim by Governor Wike.

The report released on Tuesday, May 28, and signed by its executive director, Shima Atoka, alleged that the crux of the issues the governor of Rivers state had with the GOC 6 Division Major General Jamil Sarham started after the GOC turned down the request by the governor for a private meeting.

The report further revealed that the accusation that the GOC is involved in oil bunkering is far from the truth as there are no such operations spearheaded or supported by the Nigerian Army in the south south region.

Akota said: "In the build-up to the 2019 general elections, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) identified some states as the big win states and Rivers state was one of them."

He said that this was revealed in a document where the governor of rivers state promised to deliver three million votes in an attempt to march whatever votes that the All Progressive Congress (APC) would garner in Kano state to avoid a repeat of the 2015 scenario.

"It was also identified that the governor who was seeking re-election felt pressured fearing that the former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, would use federal might to edge him out of office.

"It was revealed that part of the plot was to get the buy-in of the relevant security agencies in the state which included the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps, the Department of State Services and the Nigerian Army.

"Consequently, machinery was put in place by the Rivers state government with active collaboration with top chieftains of the PDP towards actualizing the plot and as such overtures were made to the relevant security agencies for their buy-in," Akota noted.

In its recommendation, the group said that the activities of the Nigerian Army has helped to reduce incidents of institutionalized crime such as kidnapping, armed robbery, and oil bunkering in Rivers state.

"The activities of the Nigerian Army in the South-South region has helped the government a great deal in reducing the loss of revenue to the federal government by constantly engaging militants engaged in oil theft and the vandalization of critical government oil assets," Akota said.

The officers and soldiers of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army have remained very professional in the discharge of their duties and have been instrumental to the arrest and forwarding to the Police for the prosecution of militants and oil bunkers in the region.

The group urged the Rivers state government as a matter of urgency to discontinue the campaign of character assassination against the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in the state.

"That Governor Nyesom Wike should apologize to the Nigerian Army and her personnel for the wrong accusations of partisanship and involvement in oil bunkering activities within 72 hours.

"That Governor Nyesom Wike should stop dragging the Nigerian Army into politics as it’s been very clear from the posture of the Nigerian Army under Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai before and after the 2019 General elections that it cannot dabble into politics.

"That Governor Nyesom Wike should concentrate on the task of governance and desist from making derogatory statements about the Nigerian Army," the group recommended.

meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Wike had indicted the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarhem, of promoting oil theft in the Niger Delta region.

The governor on Wednesday, May 15, made the allegation when he played host to the commander Joint Task Force (JTF), “Operation Delta Safe, Real Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade during a courtesy visit to the State House.

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In a statement by his personal assistant on electronic media, Simeon Nwakudu, Wike said: “The GOC is doing illegal bunkering, which he is using to finance his quest to emerge as the country’s Chief of Army Staff. He has his own team that is making money for him through oil bunkering.”

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