Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has called on the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, to caution some army officers in the state who are in the habit of attacking contractors involved in road construction.
The governor made this known when he received the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, on a courtesy visit at the Government House in Port Harcourt on Friday, saying the suspected officers were attached to a particular company in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni LGA.
This was contained in a statement by the media aide to the governor, Boniface Onyedi, and made available to newsmen.
The statement quoted Fubara as saying, “I’m saying this because there is this road we are constructing somewhere in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni and each time the contractor approaches this particular company and plead that they should allow them go ahead with our job, the military will always come and attack our contractors.”
He explained how he had tried to resolve the problem without success because of the officers’ vested interest, even as he urged the Chief of Army Staff to caution them.
Fubara added that his administration was doing everything possible to curb oil illegal bunkering in the state.
The governor described illegal oil bunkering as a major problem in the state, saying the illegal business was thriving because of the involvement of the military and top oil firms.
He, however, said some officers of the Nigerian Army had possibly compromised in parts of Ahoada East and Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Areas of the State.
In his speech, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Lagbaja, said he was in Port Harcourt as part of his visit to formations and units under his command following his assumption of office and thanked the governor for the continuous support, intervention and cooperation with the army to perform its operations that have fostered peace and stability in the state.
Meanwhile, Lt-Gen Lagbaja, has warned officers and men of the army against colluding with economic saboteurs engaged in oil theft, kidnappers and other criminal elements, describing them as enemies of the nation.
He stated that the Army was undergoing total transformation, adding that the Federal Government was focused on economic recovery, security infrastructural development, hence, he said soldiers must play their role by keeping a firm grip on the oil industry.
Lagbaja stated this during a visit to the 6 Division of Nigeria Army, Port Harcourt on Friday, where he inaugurated some projects
Some of the projects he launched were the remodeled and renovated reception of the 6 Division, Nigeria Army, Ordnance Tailoring Factory, 46 Engineering Bedroom RSM accommodation, GAR RSM Accommodation, 10 gunboats and vehicles, Remodeled NYSC lodge, 6 Division Engineering Regiment, while he also conducted foundation laying of a 6 Division shopping mall, and flagged off the ‘Operation Still Water III’.
While addressing men and officers of the division at the 29 Battalion parade ground, the COAS further warned troops against indulging in any form of illicit activity.
He commended the soldiers for their efforts so far in the fight against oil theft in the state and the Niger Delta region in general, while urging them not to rest on their laurels as there was still more to be done.
Lagbaja said the efforts of the Anti-Bunkering Unit of the 6 Division had recorded significant success, saying there were commendations and reports from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, over improved crude oil output in 2023
In another development, Governor Fubara has assured the people of the state of sustaining support for the growth of all sporting activities in the state and make it attractive in order lure misguided youths out of criminality.
Fubara gave the assurance when players of Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club, winners of Louis Edem International Basketball competition, presented their laurel to him at the Government House in Port Harcourt on Friday.
This was contained in a statement by his media aide, Boniface Onyedi, and sent to newsmen on Friday evening.
The governor said with the support given to the team, they were also expected to work hard with discipline to win the trophy as a justification of the support and proof to the world that they could be the best in their chosen field.