A former Youth President of Opu-Nembe Community in Bayelsa State, Mr Theophilus Iruo, has debunked an online news report (not in LEADERSHIP) which alleged that the immediate-past Minister State for Petroleum Resources and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State, Chief Timipre Sylva, had a hand in the Army invasion of Opu-Nembe on Friday, June 23, 2023.
The report stated that the community had linked Sylva to the invasion and sent a Save-Our-Soul (SoS) message to the government.
But, Mr Iruo in an interview said Chief Sylva did not have any control over men of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and could not have ordered any military onslaught when he is not the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
He said the allegations levelled against Sylva were false, mischievous, and were fabricated to score cheap political goals by political opponents, as they did not reflect the true account of what happened in Opu-Nembe Kingdom on the night of June 23, 2023.
Giving what he called true account of what transpired in Opu-Nembe community, which can be verified from the family of a deceased, Late Chief Nyoun Maddocks Lisbon Otorudigha (rtd Warrant Officer), he said the Youth President of the community, Mr Ayerite Moses, and his boys approached members of the family and allegedly demanded a substantial amount of money as security fee, threatening that they would stop the burial if the security levy was not paid.
Iruo said the son of the deceased, who is a Major in the Nigeria Army, upon getting wind of the atrocious demand from Ayerite Moses was infuriated and alerted his colleagues, who were on ground for the burial.
Iruo pointed out that the military men went after Ayerite and his boys, tracing them to their hideout but they escaped.
Iruo expressed displeasure that rather than own up to their ignoble role in the invasion of the Opu-Nembe, Ayerite and his backers have decided to twist the facts of the matter as part of a smear campaign against the former Minster.
He recalled the recent alarms of planned smear campaign against Sylva raised by the chairman of APC in the State, Dr Dennis Otiotio, and advised the general public to be vigilant and always verify every story they see online before jumping into conclusion as more fake news of this kind would surface in the desperate bid to tarnish the good image of the Bayelsa APC gubernatorial candidate in the November 11, 2023.