Army: We Have No Plan to Kill Wike

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Col. Sagir Musa

Olaseni Durojaiye

The Nigerian Army Saturday denied reports that its officers attempted to assassinate Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike.

In a statement issued on Saturday night by the army spokesperson, Musa Sagir, the Nigerian army described the report as bogus and an outright falsehood.

The governor was reported to have highlighted recent attempt at his life after receiving members of the British entourage at the Rivers State Government house on Friday.

Wike alleged that soldiers attached to the General Officer Commanding Division; (GOC) 6, attempted to kill him, after they barricaded the road leading to his private residence, ahead of the postponed election on February, 15.

Responding, the army said Wike was “acting out of frustration” from the failure of the state governor’s repeated attempts to tarnish the image of the army.

“The Nigerian Army (NA) wishes to respond to the bogus and unsubstantiated allegations being peddled by the Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike. Some of his rancorous claims were that the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Maj Gen Jamil Sarham purportedly sent troops to cordon off his residence prior to the rescheduled General Elections on the 15th of February 2019. The Governor further went on to allege an assassination attempt on his life, which he claimed, was orchestrated by the GOC 6 Division.

“The NA is appalled that a Governor, who should epitomize leadership and good example in all senses, could descend so low to employ smear campaign against the person of a GOC whose only responsibility amongst other things, – is about the safety and security of lives and properties in his Area of Responsibility.

“The NA does not train assassins, (and) as such, the institution or her personnel cannot be involved in sending assassins to murder a state Governor as alleged by Gov Nyesom Wike.”

According to the statement, the army accused Mr Wike of staging a smear campaign against the military officers.

“It is indeed no secret to the military authorities that Governor Wike has on various occasions made attempts to compromise the integrity of the GOC 6 Division. Having failed, despites series of overtures and monetary pledges of millions of dollars, both in person and from cronies, it is no surprise that the frustrated Governor has resorted to this appalling campaign of calumny.”

“One would have thought that the resolute and uncompromising stance of Maj Gen Jamil Sarham in the face of several kinds of mouth-watering inducements would have earned him a commendation from any conscientious leader. Alas, this was not the case from the embittered governor of Rivers State but rather, these slanderous allegations.

“Despite these unsubstantiated ramblings however, the NA has deemed it fit to clear the air by letting Governor Wike and the general public at large, know that it would not be dragged into any form of political gerrymandering concocted for the furtherance of any person’s interest or notoriety.”

The army challenged Mr Wike to bring evidence of his claims or desist from making further allegations.

“As a noble institution, the NA is apolitical, neutral and would not compromise its constitutional roles under any guise. Additionally, the NA would like to give Governor Wike the benefit of doubt, to within 7 days, bring forth evidence that can substantiate the bogus claims, or he could as well, save face and keep his peace.”