Soldier To Serve Seven Year Jail Term For Manslaughter

Soldier To Serve 7-Year Jail Term For ManslaughterThe General Court Marshal of 7 Division sitting in Maiduguri, Borno state, has sentenced a serving soldier to seven years imprisonment for manslaughter.

The soldier is being prosecuted for shooting and killing one Mr Umar Alkali within the popular Monday Market in Maiduguri metropolis on December 23 2015.

The soldier (name withheld) was found guilty of manslaughter punishable under Section (105) of the Armed Forces Act CAP A20 of the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004.

Narrating the circumstances surrounding the incident, the soldier stated that he shot and killed Alkali to save his life; an act he described as self defence, after the deceased assaulted and tried to wrestle his rifle from him.

The plea was however set aside on the ground of disproportionate use of force.

While dismissing the initial charge of murder leveled against the officer, the GCM upheld the charge of manslaughter.

The President of the Court, Brigadier General Olusegun Adeniyi while delivering the verdict, gave a detailed account of all the proceedings and relevant laws that guided the court at arriving at its decision.

Another soldier (name withheld) was also found guilty of a one count charge of desertion punishable under section 60 of the Act.

He had deserted his duty post for 272 and was declared Missing in Action until he was discovered somewhere in eastern Nigeria.

He has been sentenced to 14 months imprisonment.

Court Martial Jails Soldier Over Assault On Minor

Court Martial, Soldier, MinorThe court martial trying offending soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole has de-ranked and sentenced an Army personnel to three years in prison over assault on a minor, which led to amputation.

The convict, Umar Sule, a staff sergeant was first arraigned in August 2015 alongside 19 others for various offences.

The two-count charge against him include entertaining an unauthorised person in his guard location as well as unlawful assault causing “grievous bodily harm”.

The 10-year-old boy, simply identified as Mohammed Usman, sat limbless in court on Tuesday as the fate of his assaulter was decided.

Mohammed, as an errand boy to the said soldier, allegedly stole 2,000 Naira from his master’s room.

Giving his ruling, president of the court martial, Brigadier-General Olusegun Adeniyi, said that the court was guided by military laws as enshrined in the Armed Forces Act 2004.

The Defence counsel pleaded for mercy on the grounds that Sergeant Umar was a first offender with clean records.

The victim’s mother, Amina Usman, however, had mixed feelings over the ruling, saying the future of her child hangs in the balance.

On her part, a representative of the National Human Rights Commission, Jummai Mshelia, commended the Nigerian Army and the court martial for the ruling and sought support for the victim.

The judgement is the first since the General Court Martial was inaugurated.

The court has adjourned till October 20 for hearing of the next case.

The 20 soldiers arraigned before the court comprise of four officers and 16 other ranks.

Army Inaugurates Another General Court Martial In Maiduguri

Army General Court MartialThe Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division Nigerian Army, Brigadier General VU Ezegwu, has inaugurated a General Court Martial in Maiduguri to dispel all pending disciplinary cases.

The court will handle, in particular, cases that occurred in the Theatre of Operation Lafiya Dole but could not be tried summarily.

Twenty military personnel including four officers – two Majors and two Captains – and 16 others, comprising one Staff Sergeant, two Sergeants, two Corporals, three Lance Corporals, seven Privates soldiers and a Naval Sea Man are to undergo trial for different offences.

Addressing members of the court, Brigadier General Ezegwu said: “As you are all aware, discipline is the bedrock of the military profession and to have a disciplined body of officers and men, there must be justice because it is when there is justice that discipline can be achieved.

“Justice implies that infractions of the law must be promptly reported, investigated and the accused persons prosecuted within a reasonable time through the laid down rules, regulations and procedures.

“The outcome of this GCM must therefore be based on careful appreciation of the whole facts of each case and evidence placed before you in the course of trial of these accused persons.

“Finally, you are to please ensure that the judgement you pass on the accused person will stand the test of appellate court, public opinion and above all, that of the Almighty Creator”.

He assured the accused that they were presumed innocent until the court proved them guilty.

“I want to further state that your rights to fair hearing and other fundamental human rights would be adhered to,” Mr Ezegwu reassured the accused.

The nature of the offences include murder, loss of arms, defilement, assault occasioning to bodily harm and desertion, amongst others.

After the inauguration, Brigadier General Olusegun Adeniyi, who will preside over the Court, promised to be fair to all the accused persons, assuring them that they are presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

He further reiterated that the court would hasten its proceedings, as ‘justice delayed is justice denied’.

Military Court-Martial Warns Against Avoidable Adjournments

Court Martial, Army, SoldiersThe Court-Martial trying erring soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole has warned that it will not welcome unnecessary adjournment and delays.

The President of the Court-Martial, Brigadier General Olusegun Adeniyi, gave the caution on Wednesday during the trial of four officers and 16 others charged for various malpractices in the course of the counter-insurgency war.

General Adeniyi, who read the riot act to the prosecuting and defence counsels, noted that he would conclude the trials within the shortest possible time, assuring that time spent in detention by the accused would be adequately accounted for once judgement was handed down.

He stated further, the reason for their confinement, adjourning sitting till September 5.

“Their confinement is so they do not endanger national security, others and themselves and interfere with prosecution since we still do not know the nature of their charges.”

The adjournment followed a plea by the prosecutors, who failed to furnish the court with details of charges against the erring soldiers.

The defence counsel, Steve Ogenyi, also made a bail application for the accused, who has spent between six to 18 months in detention, a request the court denied.

The acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Major General Victor Ezugwu, who inaugurated the Court Martial, said that the aim was to achieve timely and quick dispensation of justice.

General Ezugwu had appealed to the prosecutors and accused to avoid antics such as frivolous call for adjournment to cause unnecessary delay.

He also advised the court to avoid being biased and decisions based on external pressure, such that the judgement passed stands the test of Appellate Court and public opinion.

The acting GOC disclosed that the offences of those arraigned varies from theft and sales of ammunition to murder in the course of operations.