Nigerian Army Court-Martial Major General Otiki Over Alleged N400m Theft

 

 

Welcome to our live updates on Nigerian Army Court-Martial of Major General Hakeem Otiki over alleged N400million theft ongoing in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

Major General Hakeem Otiki is a former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 division.



12:45pm

Major-General Otiki is wheeled into the command officer’s mess. This is premises of the court marshal.

Journalists were prevented from taking close shots of him.


12:49 pm

The general is undergoing medical examination but it is not clear why.


12:56pm

The panel of the court-martial arrives at the venue.


01:01pm

Okechukwu Adinu appears for General Otiki. He asked that the General be allowed to sit throughout the trial.


01:10pm

Lieutenant General Lamidi Adeosun is the President of the tribunal.

More photos from the trial

01:20pm

Five soldiers were confirmed to have stolen the money while on escort duty from Sokoto to Kaduna State in the first week of July.

The former GOC had reportedly asked the soldiers to escort the money and deliver it to a Very Important Personality (VIP) in Kaduna.


01:23 pm

The defendant objected to General Adeosun as President of the Tribunal because he feels he will not get a fair trial under the leadership of General Adeosun.

According to him, the President of the Court Martial and the defendant have a long-standing grudge.


01:26 pm

Lawyer to the defendant says it’s a fact that the defendant conducted several operations that were directly under the office of the President of the Court Marshal, General Adeosun which are operations that will come up during the trial making the president an interested party.

He also says that the defendant inherited the soldiers that were under the command of the President when he was in charge of division 8.


01:27 pm

The lawyer added that as such, there is no way the soldiers and the operations and their days in the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) will not come up in the trial.

He, therefore, asked the president to recuse himself from the trial.


01:28pm

Journalists were sent out from continued hearing of the trial.

As at this time, it is not clear yet whether the President of the court marshal, Adeosun will recuse himself or continue presiding over the trial.




 

Army To Court-Martial 3 Officers, 11 Soldiers Over Murder, Other Crimes

 

The 6 Division of the Nigerian Army has set up a general court-martial to try three officers and eleven soldiers for alleged crimes ranging from murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, desertion, and more.

According to the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Major General Jamil Sarham, the offences are all punishable under the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The GOC, while inaugurating the court-martial, explained that discipline and professional conduct in the army will not be compromised, insisting that justice will not only be done but seen to be done in the matter.

He said, The establishment of Court Martial is predicated on the fact that the Armed Forces of Nigeria holds its personnel in high esteem hence its resolve to ensure that a thorough investigation must be conducted before any suspect can be put on trial as it is in the instant case.

Let me at this juncture assure all of us that justice will not only be done on this entire trial but be seen to have been done. This is not only because the case against each accused person was thoroughly investigated to ensure that an innocent person is not wrongly tried and punished.

Read the GOC’s full speech highlighting the crimes for which the personnel are being court-martialed and more below:

I welcome you to Python Officers Mess, the venue of inauguration ceremony of General Court Martial (GCM) in 6 Div AOR today Sat, 15 Jun 19. The NA is a creation of the Nigerian Constitution to carry out specific tasks to support the government effort in providing security for the Nigerian Nation. To achieve this, a discipline and professional Armed Forces is imperative and this in line with the Chief of Army Staffs vision which is To have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles. There is no gainsaying that unless such a body of professionals is disciplined, achieving victory in battle and other specified assignments would not be easy.

Section 131 of the Armed Forces Act, therefore, conferred on me the power to convene this General Court Martial and by so doing to try the accused persons who have allegedly violated some codes guiding our professional conduct. The offences for which the accused persons are being tried ranges from murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, desertion, offences in relation to public and services property, disobedience to standing orders and conducts to the prejudice to service discipline, all punishable under the Armed Forces Act CAP A20 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The Court Martial, Ladies and Gentleman in only one of the apparatus put in place by the Armed Forces of Nigeria to discipline its erring personnel. The establishment of Court Martial is predicated on the fact that the Armed Forces of Nigeria holds its personnel in high esteem hence its resolve to ensure that a thorough investigation must be conducted before any suspect can be put on trial as it is in the instant case.

Let me at this juncture assure all of us that justice will not only be done on this entire trial but be seen to have been done. This is not only because the case against each accused person was thoroughly investigated to ensure that an innocent person is not wrongly tried and punished as I pointed out earlier. Also, HQ 6 Div has painstakingly selected credible officers as members of the Court Martial to ensure fair hearing and justice. In addition to that, due regard was accorded to these officers having in-depth knowledge of military law and outstanding experience of military duties. I, therefore, urge the members to be just and fair in the conduct of the trial to ensure that each accused person is given a fair trial.

As we all know, the trial is not only aimed at seeing that offenders are punished but to serve as a deterrent to others so as to prevent future occurrence. In this light, justice, therefore, is a 3-way traffic; Justice for the accused, justice for the victim and justice for the state. I must state clearly that the accused persons are presumed innocent of the offences charged against them until proven guilty by this Court. Let me thank all of you here present particularly members of the press for finding time to grace the occasion.

Gentlemen, with these few words, I urge you to do justice. I thank you all.

 

Court Martial Sentences Airman To Death For Killing Girlfriend

The General Court Martial of the Nigerian Air Force has sentenced Air Craftsman Kalu Bernard of the Nigerian Air Force Ammamem unit, to death by hanging for killing his girlfriend and colleague, Miss Oladipupo Sholape on March 12, 2017.

The President of the General Court Martial, Group Captain Elisha Bindul handed him the death penalty after the defense failed to prove his innocence in the March 12 tragedy when Air Craftsman Kalu Benard who was charged with murder, attempted murder, house break-in, losing service property and failure to perform his official duties, killed Air Craftswoman Sholape for allegedly cheating on him.

“On the First charge of murder, contrary to section106 sub-section A of the Armed Forces Act Cap A20, Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the convict is sentenced to death by hanging”.

“On the Second charge of house break-in, contrary to section110 sub-section B of the Armed Forces Act Cap A20, Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the convict is sentenced to five years imprisonment”.

“To the Fourth charge of attempt to commit an offence, contrary to section 95 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 of the Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the convict is sentenced to life imprisonment”

Meanwhile, counsel to Air Craftsman Kalu Benard, Mr. A. M Ewuga, is heading on appeal, noting that his court is innocent of the five count charge preferred against him and accused the general court martial of not evaluating the evidence before it.

He said, “The court has not evaluated the evidence before her properly”.

“The case of the defense is not considered by the court and in our own very candid opinion, the decision of this honourable court need to be tested and surely we are going to move to the court of appeal to consider this decision of the court today”.

General Court Martial Jails Three Soldiers

General Court Martial Jails Three Soldiers

A General Court Martial sitting in 7 Division, Garrison, Maiduguri, has sentenced two soldiers to 23 years imprisonment respectively.

The soldiers, who are serving in Operation LAFIYA DOLE, were sentenced based on charges that bordered on unlawful possession of fire arms.

According to a statement issued by the deputy director of Army Public Relations, 7 Division, Kingsley Samuel, the crime is punishable under Section 27 (1) (a & b) (i & ii) of the Firearms Act.

“The convicts; Trooper Eric Nwokere and Trooper Macaulay Fortune, at the time of their arrest were in possession of five empty AK-47 rifle magazines and 20,136 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition at Jambutu Motor Park, Jimeta-Yola, Adamawa State while boarding a commercial vehicle to an unknown destination”.

Another soldier, Corporal Garba Saidu, was arrested and charged with illegal possession of 2,800 rounds of 7.2mm (special) ammunition.

The soldier was also sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for unlawful possession of ammunition.

“He (Saidu) was arrested after discovering the ammunition hidden in a poultry farm near Tipper Garage in Maiduguri metropolis. The farm is said to belong to a serving Nigerian policeman. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment,” the statement added.

The President of the General Court Martial Lieutenant Colonel Adamu Hassan said the court arrived at the decision after the close of submissions by the prosecution and defence counsels.

He said the prosecution proved the case beyond reasonable doubt in line with the burden of proof on the prosecutor to prove all criminal cases beyond reasonable doubt.

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.

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.

Counter Insurgency: Four Officers,16 Soldiers Face Court Martial

court maritalFour officers and sixteen other ranks of the Nigerian Army are facing Court Martial over offences committed in the theatre of the Operation Lafiya Dole.

Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Major General Victor Ezugwu inaugurated the Court Martial on Wednesday following a directive from the Army Headquarters.

According to him, the aim is to achieve timely and quick dispensation of justice.

Gen. Ezugwu appealed to the prosecutors and accused to bear that in mind and avoid antics such as frivolous call for adjournment to cause unnecessary delay.

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

Gen. Ezugwu told journalists that the offences of those arraigned varies from theft and sales of ammunition to murder in the course of operations.

The 20 soldiers are being arraigned at the maiden court martial, proceedings on account of the weight of their offences.

The GOC further stated that over a 100 soldiers have been tried and punished at the Brigade level over acts of indiscipline and unprofessionalism.

15,000 soldiers have also been awarded medals of excellence on the theatre of operation for patriotism and gallantry.

The president of the Court Martial, Gen. OG Adeniyi has assured the accused of fair hearing and justice.

The prosecutors have sought adjournment till September 5, 2016, the defense did not oppose but have applied for an open arrest for the accused who have been in military detention form 6 months to nearly 2 years.

Army Bars Coverage Of Two Major Generals’ Trial

Court Martial, Army major generals Nigerian journalists have been barred from covering the proceedings of the trial of two major generals being court-martialled in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The trial of a former Chief of Army Transportation and Innovation Centre, Major General Ibrahim Sani and a former commander of 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Yaba, Major General Patrick Falola had continued on Monday without any media house covering it.

Offences

The Nigerian Army on May 5 inaugurated a court martial to try the two top military officers for violation of service discipline.

The panel include Air Vice Marshal James Gbum who is President of the Court, while Air Vice Marshal Iya Abdullahi and Rear Admiral Peter Agba are members of the panel.

Surgeon Rear Admiral Edwin Enechukwu is a waiting member and Colonel Sa’ad Musa is Judge Advocate.

Although, the offences were not read in court, according to sources the accused are said to be facing charges that border on conduct unbecoming of military officers punishable under the Armed Forces Act.

The spokesman of Mogadishu Cantonment Abuja, Colonel Ali Yusuf, said reporters were not allowed to cover the trial to avoid jeopardising the army’s operations.

“They will be briefed about the outcome of the cases later,” he added.

Six Nigerian Army Officers Face Court Martial In Ibadan

Court Martial, ArmySix military personnel from various units of the 2 Division of the Nigerian Army Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment, Odogbo Ibadan have appeared before a general court martial.

The General Officer Commanding, 11 Mechanised Division, Major General Laz Ilo, says the division will not tolerate any form of indiscipline.

The allegations against the accused military personnel include murder, manslaughter, stealing, negligence of performance of military duties, sexual relationship with spouse of military personnel, disgraceful conduct of indecent nature, and scandalous conduct of an officer.

The accused military personnel comprised one on the rank of major, one captain, one lieutenant, one second lieutenant, one corporal and one private.

They allegedly committed the offences at various units under the 2 Division of Nigerian Army.

While inaugurating the 6-man panel, Maj. Gen. Ilo stated unequivocally that no act of indiscipline would go unpunished under his watch. He charged all to be above board and respect the rights of all in their conducts.

The GOC further explained that the human rights desk has been established at the division for members of the public to launch their complaints about erring military personnel, saying military justice is in consonance with the democratic order and that military law and administration of the law are based on due process.

Ilo stated that the inauguration of general court martial was in line with the vision of Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, to have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles to the nation, adding that to accomplish the vision, there is need for absolute discipline.

The trial of the accused commenced immediately after the GOC inaugurated the General Court Martial.

The special court is presided over by Brig Gen Ibikunle Raji and comprised five other members including Col Jimoh Audu, Lt. Col Kenneth Emefiele, Lt. Col Aliyu Emekoma, Major James Mimiola and the judge advocate, Major Diepiriye Biambo.

The Deputy Director of Legal Services 2 Div., Col. Mahmood Wambai, said that the accused Army officers have been given enough opportunity to defend themselves.

Army Plans More Court-Martial To Fight Indiscipline

ArmyThe Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah, on Sunday said that the Nigerian Army would continue to set up court-martial to check indiscipline among troops within its ranks.

The Army boss, who made the statement while speaking during the an Interdenominational Church Service to mark the Nigerian Army Day Celebration 2015, NADECL, added that the Army is taking all proactive measures to restore sanity and battle confidence to troops.

“I must set up court-martial and if you are in my place and you did nothing you are not worth being a Chief of Army Staff. I did that, I have no regret.

“I am setting up more court-martial to try people who ran, showed cowardice, abandoned troops and equipment and ran away.

“Why are you in the Army? Why are you running away? Is that the army we want in Nigeria?” Mr. Minimah asked.

He reminded soldiers of the oath they swore to which said that if possible “the soldier should lay down his life for his fatherland” adding that this was the oath they all took.

Mr. Minimah appealed to Nigerians to be patient as more time is needed in the fight against terror. He gave an assurance that the fight would soon be over with the support of the citizenry.

He noted that the choice of Maiduguri for the celebration was for the Army to identify with the government and people of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and the entire Northeastern region that the Army shares their pains.

It will be recalled that in 2014, the Nigerian Army’s 7 Division General Court Martial convicted 54 soldiers for conspiracy to commit mutiny and sentenced them to death by firing squad.

The facts of the case indicated that the soldiers, from the 111 Special Forces, were charged for disobeying a direct order from their Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Opurum, to take part in an operation to recapture Delwa, Bulabulin and Damboa in Borno State from Boko Haram terrorists on August 4.

Court Stays Execution Of Court Martialled Soldiers

SoldiersA Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has stayed the execution of the death sentences passed on two of the twelve Nigerian soldiers court martialled by the army authorities last September.

The soldiers were tried under the General Court Martial which sat at the Army Headquarters Garrison, Mogadishu Cantonment in Abuja, on allegations of offences of conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny under the armed forces act 2004.

Three of the convicted soldiers, CPL Stephen Clement, CPL Igomu Emmanuel and Private Andrew Ngbede, however approached the appellate court through their lawyer, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), to challenge the decision of the court martial, which convicted and sentenced them to life imprisonment and death.

The convicted soldiers raised 11 grounds of appeal each in their separate appeals challenging the very many fundamental irregularities and improprieties characterizing the entire trial at the general court marshal and asked the court to stay the execution of their sentences pending the hearing and determination of their appeals.

In his ruling the lead judge, Justice Abubakar Abdulkadir, restrained the Nigerian Army or its agents from carrying out the execution of life imprisonment and death sentence imposed by the General Court Martial and ordered that the convicted soldiers be granted access to their lawyers.

The court also ordered the Nigerian Army to avail the convicted soldiers of the record of proceedings of the General Court Martial which tried and convicted them to enable them compile records for their appeal.

The application for stay of execution filed by the third convicted soldier, CPL Stephen Clement, is yet to be heard as it was not listed on the court’s list on the day those of the other convicted soldiers were heard.

Another Batch Of Soldiers Sentenced To Death By Court Martial

court martial The court martial sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday night, delivered its verdict in the case of conspiracy to commit mutiny and incitement of mutiny involving 5 soldiers.

LCPL Sule Ochehepo was discharged and acquitted, while LCPL Bankole Taiwo, LCPL Bankole Olawale, LCPL Isaiah Olofu and PTE Adebayo Gbenga were convicted and sentenced to death.

The allegation against the soldiers was that they asked “inciting questions” from their Commanding Officer of 81 Battalion when he addressed them on September 14, 2013.

The questions pertained to the corpses of some of their colleagues brought to the camp after they were killed by the Boko Haram terrorists due to lack of weapons.

The charge of mutiny was that the 5 soldiers “incited soldiers of 81 Bn to mutiny against the authority of 7 Division of Nigerian Army”.

They pleaded double jeopardy that they had been tried summarily by their Commanding Officer, convicted and sentenced and that they had served the punishment.

The record of proceedings of the earlier trial was tendered and admitted in evidence by the court martial but the court martial headed by Brig-General M.S Yusuf did not consider the defence of the soldiers.

Altogether, 71 soldiers have been sentenced to death for protesting against the non-payment of salaries and allowances and failure of the authorities to provide equipment to confront the well-equipped Boko Haram troops.

Hundreds of other soldiers are currently awaiting trial in Abuja, Jos and Lagos for mutiny, negligence and cowardice and allied offences.

They are due to be arraigned after the Christmas vacation.