By Temitope Owotoki
Major General Jamil Sarham, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has lambasted Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and other members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state over what he termed their reckless comments against the 6 Division and its personnel.
Maj.-Gen. Sarham also demanded an unreserved apology from Wike and Emma Okah, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, who is also a lawyer, and doubles as the Director of Information and Communications of Rivers PDP Campaign Council, as well as the withdrawal of the offensive and frustrating statements within 72 hours or face legal action.
The 6 Division covers Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states in the Niger Delta.
Okah, yesterday in an online statement, accused a Senior Officer of 6 Division, Brig.-Gen. Nasiru Najaja, who is the Commander, 6 Military Intelligence Brigade, of allegedly tampering with sensitive electoral materials in Port-Harcourt and planning to rig Presidential and National Assembly elections in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The GOC, through 6 Division’s Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, said: “The attention of Headquarters 6 Division, Nigerian Army, has been drawn to some unscrupulous and wicked assertions by one Barr. Emma Okah, who claims to be the Director of Information and Communications of PDP Rivers State, in a statement he issued and published in an online medium.
“In the most bizarre and slanderous statement, Emma Okah criminally and frivolously accused the person of a respected professional, Brig.-Gen. Nasiru Najaja, the Commander 6 Military Intelligence Brigade, to the effect that the senior officer was prevented access to the Port Harcourt Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) premises by some so-called PDP members, who stopped him from tampering with sensitive electoral materials. Okah went ahead to brazenly accuse the institution of the 6 Division for planning to rig the election in favour of another political party.
“For the avoidance of doubt, as part of the Nigerian Army’s constitutional responsibility of aiding civil authority and our mandate to safeguarding key points and vulnerable points of our dear nation, troops of 6 Division were accordingly deployed and further reinforced at various locations, including the CBN, Port Harcourt, where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) usually deposits sensitive materials before, during and after elections.
“Brig.-Gen. Najaja, as the Coordinator of all deployments, was at the CBN, Port Harcourt and other locations to assess the level of troops’ deployment and alertness. This deployment must have thwarted Mr. Okah’s sinister plans and that of his paymasters, thereby making such frustrating statements.
“Emma Okah and his cohorts are advised to henceforth restrict their politicking to themselves and avoid dragging the respected institution of the Nigerian Army and its personnel for cheap popularity. The 6 Division and indeed the Nigerian Army have over time reiterated and genuinely demonstrated our neutrality and apolitical posture and will continue to play our constitutional mandates responsively and professionally, despite the distractions.
“The 6 Division wishes to categorically demand an unreserved apology and withdrawal of the slanderous statements by Emma Okah against the Nigerian Army and the person of Brig.-Gen. Nasiru Najaja within 72 hours, failure of which will lead to institution of legal proceedings,” the statement said.
Maj.-Gen. Sarham also reassured the good people of Rivers State and the crude oil and gas-rich Niger Delta region of the 6 Division’s unflinching resolve to protect lives and property, in conjunction with other security agencies, for a conducive atmosphere in the entire region.
The GOC also hailed the people of Rivers State and the Niger Delta for their continued support and cooperation with the division in the area of provision of useful and timely information, which he said greatly assisted the operations of the division, while urging them to do more.