Diri, Sylva trade words over gunmen sponsorship

Diri, Sylva trade words over gunmen sponsorship

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The Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, the immediate past Minister for State, Petroleum, and the former Governor of the State, Timipre Sylva, are recently juggling over comments made over the killings of 16 soldiers in the Delta community.

The former governor and All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate in the November 11, 2024, governorship election, Timipre Sylva, berated politicians and particularly the state government for arming non-state actors with guns and ammunition during the last election.

The State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, took a swipe at the former governor over the statement, noting that Sylva’s statement was akin to the proverbial pot calling the kettle black when the APC governorship candidate’s antecedents as a politician were like an open book known to everyone.

A statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, while condemning Chief Sylva’s statement, said his introduction of politics into the highly condemnable killing of men in active service to their country smacks of insensitivity at a time when true patriots were mourning the unfortunate incident.

Sylva, in a statement credited to him and circulating on social media, claimed that “the last Bayelsa governorship election featured lots of disheartening state sponsorship of gunmen, which he alluded to as an act of desperation and the unnecessary loss of precious Nigerian lives.”

“I condemn in totality the killing of men of the Joint Task Force in Okuama, Delta State. This again shows why politicians should not arm irresponsible non-state actors.

“The last Bayelsa governorship election featured a lot of disheartening state sponsorship of gunmen. And today, we all see the result of that act of desperation and the unnecessary loss of precious Nigerian lives. My heart goes out to the families of those gallant soldiers who lost their lives,” Sylva stated.

But in a swift reaction, the Bayelsa governor wondered why the former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources chose to dance on the graves of the slain soldiers in his false allusion to the use of non-state actors in the governorship poll in the state.

Diri said it is just as ridiculous that the same Sylva was whipping up negative sentiments and spreading falsehoods over the presence of soldiers in Igbomotoru, a Bayelsa community, where the military had reportedly extended its investigation into the Okuama incident.

He said, “The military authorities should be allowed to conduct a thorough investigation into the sordid occurrence in Okuama. Comments should be restrained at this time while efforts are underway to unravel the perpetrators.

“It is therefore very unfortunate and sad that Chief Sylva chose to play politics with the evil act of the killing of Nigerian soldiers at a time when patriots in our country were outraged and mourning.

“Introducing politics into the Okuama killing is insensitive, just as it is condemnable and akin to dancing on their graves. For those who know, this is like the pot calling the kettle black.

“However, Sylva’s unending bellyaching and whining over the 2023 Bayelsa governorship election does not change the fact that it has been won and lost. He and his ilk should embrace this reality and join hands with our government to further the development of our state.”

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