THE disagreement between Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarhem, took a fresh turn on Wednesday when the governor dismissed the claim that he attempted to bribe the GOC.
The 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt had earlier risen in defence of the GOC, who the governor accused of involvement in illegal oil bunkering, maintaining that the governor made moves to bribe Sarhem with billions of naira.
A statement signed by the Deputy Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, alleged that the refusal of the GOC to be bought over and compromise the 2019 election was the reason behind the governor’s criticism against Sarhem.
But speaking while announcing the dissolution of the Rivers State Executive Council, Wike stated that the Peoples Democratic Party defeated Sarhem and his political party during the 2019 general elections.
The governor also described the bribery allegation against him by the GOC as false and a mere face-saving measure.
He said that the GOC recently appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Army, but never made any allegation because nothing like that took place.
Wike insisted that the GOC runs an oil bunkering scheme, which he (Wike) said could not be swept away by flimsy allegations.
“They say they will remove me through the tribunal, but we defeated them during the elections. If it is to conduct elections, they will never win. Someone who says he never met me before and has never been to Government House would now say I am fighting him because I tried to bribe him with billions of naira.
“The GOC has been fully involved in oil bunkering. He should explain his involvement instead of the false allegation. The House of Representatives Committee on Army was here, he could not say he was bribed. He is saying this because he is involved in oil bunkering.
“They know it is correct. It was an election that we defeated you and your party; why would I have to pay a bribe? We defeated you in that election. The man you have not met; how could he have offered to bribe you?”
He thanked members of the former Rivers State Executive Council for their contributions to the development of Rivers State.
“It has been a rewarding experience and I am quite impressed that one worked with these persons of capacity. All the achievements we recorded were made possible because you worked,” Wike said.
Earlier in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Public Relations of the Nigerian Army, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, the security outfit had challenged Wike to provide the public with any evidence of any meetings with Maj. Gen. Sarham in attendance.
“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 wishes 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 (GOC) 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,” the statement read.