Sharing is caring!Facebook0Twitter0Google+0Pinterest0welve soldiers were sentenced to death by a military court for committing mutiny while on a count...
welve soldiers were sentenced to death by a military court for committing mutiny while on a counter-terrorism campaign in Borno state where the activities of the Boko Haram sect is at its all time high.
Some retired senior military officers have supported the Nigerian military’s verdict stating that it was necessary for the military to maintain its age-long rules on discipline.
Four soldiers were also discharged and acquitted while one soldier was sentenced to 28 days imprisonment with hard labour.
The soldiers were arraigned before the court martial on a six-count charge of criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny, disobeying lawful orders and various acts inimical to military service.
The convicted soldiers are Cpl. David Musa, Cpl. David Robert, Cpl. Jasper Baido, Cpl. Mohammed Sani, L/Cpl. Friday Onu, L/Cpl. Yusuf Shuaibu, L/Cpl. Emmanuel Iganmu, L/Cpl. Stephen Clement, Priv. Andrew Gbede, Priv. Nurudeen Ahmed, Priv. Ifeanyi Anukabe, Priv. Alao Samuel, Priv. Alan Linus, Priv. Namaan Samuel, Priv. Ichocho Jeremiah, Priv. Sebastine Amah and Priv. Amadi Chukwudi.
Following the conviction, prominent Nigerians and pressure groups have urged the military to ease the sentence on the twelve soldiers and not go on with the death sentence.
However, retired senior military officers who spoke to Punch hailed the judgment and said it would have to be carried out.
According to Punch, a former Commandant of the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Brig.-Gen. Williams Obene (retd.), said, “I commend the boldness of the Army authorities to follow the terms and conditions of service – the extant laws that established the armed forces, particularly the Army– and for trying to uphold discipline at the highest level.
“When politicians and highly influential Nigerians interfere in the daily administration of the military, things become difficult. That situation is very prevalent under democracy.”
A former Adjutant-General of the Nigerian Army and former minister of police affairs, Major General David Jemibewon (retd.), also speaking with Punch said the court martial must have considered available evidence and circumstances before reaching its decision on the soldiers.
He said, “The military does not operate on sentiments or on people expressing either sympathy or lack of sympathy. Most of the things (we do) in the military are based on laws. It is difficult for me to align with people calling for clemency or pardon.
“The court martial has the facts and they have now come to conclusion after allowing evidence.”
Also backing the death sentence is a retired Colonel, Anthony Nyiam who was one of those sentenced to death by the regime of former head of state, Ibrahim Babangida.
Nyiam said: “As a soldier, and respecter of the law and tradition, the worst thing a soldier can do is to mutiny. And the penalty, as the law says, should be served. If you interrupt the traditions of the military, you’re interfering with the foundations.”
In the same vein, a former military administrator of Bauchi and Osun states, Col. Theophilus Bamigboye (retd.), hailed the sentence stating that it was in line with military rules and regulations.
“The court has followed the laid down procedure and military etiquette. They (the court) must have looked at the entire situations before arriving at the sentence,” he said.
Bamigboye added “We have our own laws and so many things regulating our conduct in the military. I will not want anybody to die but we are talking of military procedure, which has to be followed.”
Also speaking to Punch, the director, Army public relations, Brig.-Gen. Olajide Laleye, insisted that the military must handle its matters in line with stipulated procedures even in the face of contrary public opinion.
He said, “The issues are these: was an offence committed; did the military follow due process in prosecuting those involved in the offence; were the cases duly prosecuted in a court of law recognised by the law?
“The Army followed standard military procedures, set up a court that is recognised by the laws of the country and carried out the trial in line with the procedures of the military.
“But why are people even jumping the gun. The judgment is still awaiting confirmation by the Chief of Army Staff.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has said it is waiting for the approval of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, on the death sentence given to the soldiers.