The Theatre Command Special Court Martial of the Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri has dismissed a Nigerian Air Force officer, Flight Lieutenant Martins Ewerem, for raping and assaulting a 14-year-old girl, an Internally Displaced Person (IDP).
The girl, said to be living in the Bakassi IDP camp in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, was reported to have gone to fetch firewood in a nearby bush when the incident occurred.
Delivering a judgement at the Officers’ Mess of the Maimalari Cantonment, the President of the Court, Major General Yakubu Aura, said the court found Ewerem guilty of some of the charges brought against him.
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The accused was dismissed for being found guilty of the first count charge, but acquitted of the second while he was found guilty of the third count.
He was sentenced to dismissal on the first count of raping the teenager on September 29, 2018, during his patrol duty around Dalwa area of Molai on the outskirts of Maiduguri metropolitan council.
The President of the Court explained that the accused was discharged and acquitted for assaulting the minor, which was the second charge.
On the third count, Ewerem was sentenced to reduction in rank from Flight Lieutenant to Flight Officer, and loss of seniority for six years in both the present and future rank.
This translates to three years as Flight Lieutenant and three years as Flight Officer.
Major General Auta noted that the judgement of the court was subject to the final decision of the highest Nigerian Armed Forces authority, as provided for by the law and in the Armed Forces Act.
Reading the summary of both defence and prosecuting witnesses, the Court Judge Advocate, Captain Aminu Mairuwa, said the accused was facing three counts of defiling, assault, and disobedience of standing order.
He said, “The accused who was on a special patrol mission from Dalwa unit, was said to have seen the victim and her friends, who went to fetch firewood. On sighting them, he ordered his soldiers to arrest them, accusing them of being suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers, and asked them to lie down.
“Despite not finding anything incriminating, the accused dragged the victim into the bush … where he eventuality defiled and assaulted her.”
The victim was said to have been taken to the International Rescue Committee Hospital in Bakassi camp, where she underwent physical examinations.
The results revealed that there were bruises on her body and penetration into her private part.