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4 Lt Cols, Major, 92 others face court-martial

By Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA—Ninety-seven soldiers including four Lieutenant Colonels, a Major and four captains were, yesterday, charged with offences ranging from mutiny, conduct prejudicial to good orders, assault and Absence Without Leave, AWOL, to house breaking, contrary to service discipline.

The accused persons will however, be formally arraigned before the General Court Martial, GCM, convened on behalf of the Army authorities by the  Commander, Army Headquarters Garrison, Brigadier General B.T Ndiomu on October 15.

Soldiers tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants arrive to face trials for mutiny in Abuja on October 2, 2014. Nearly 100 soldiers tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants in Nigeria's far northeast appeared at a military court martial on Thursday, facing a range of charges including mutiny. The hearing comes just weeks after a tribunal sentenced 12 soldiers to death following their conviction for shooting at their commanding officer in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in May. AFP PHOTO
Soldiers tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants arrive to face trials for mutiny in Abuja on October 2, 2014. Nearly 100 soldiers tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants in Nigeria’s far northeast appeared at a military court martial on Thursday, facing a range of charges including mutiny. The hearing comes just weeks after a tribunal sentenced 12 soldiers to death following their conviction for shooting at their commanding officer in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in May. AFP PHOTO

The GCM has Brigadier General Musa Sani Yusuf as president with Col. Umar Mohammed, Col. Rabe Abubakar, Col. Mohammed Lawan Ibrahim, Col. Muktar Mohammed Bunza, Col. Jonathan Gontor, Col. KN Garba, Col. Godwin Anayo Ugwueze, Col. BR Abimiku as members.

According to the military, the Prosecuting Officers include, Capt. J.A. Orumor, Capt. R.S. Agwai, Capt. J.E. Nwosu, Capt. W.F. David, Capt. P.N. Nwachi, Capt. V.L. Williams, Lieutenant A.M. Sani, Lieutenant N. Okorie and Lance Corporal Chukwu Prince-Augustine.

Also, the waiting members are Col. Abubakar T. Ibrahim, Lt. Col. Victor Olatude Olatunji while Lt. Col. Ukpe Ukpe will serve as the Judge Advocate.

For the Defence, prominent Lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, is leading others among who are Major Oyebanji (rtd), Mr. Shuaibu Isa, Mr. J.O.K. Irikefe, Mr. Paul Ocheme, Mr. Mike Ebogu and Colonel Godwin Anyalemechi.

Speaking shortly after inaugurating the GCM, the Army assured the accused soldiers, their counsel and the nation that the court will be guided throughout the trial by the principles of fair hearing and justice.

“You shall be given the facilities and conditions necessary for the proper defence of your cases. In line with the provisions of section 35 (5) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), every one of you shall be presumed innocent by the court until it is proved otherwise.

“Let me further assure you that the GCM will base its decisions and findings only on the facts presented before it. In other words, this court will not give room for or be influenced by any extraneous matter which is not presented before this court.

“We intend to patiently and painstakingly listen to all evidence that will be brought before this court to ensure that no innocent person is convicted as it is better for nine guilty persons to go free than for one innocent person to suffer,” the GCM President added.

Furthermore, Yusuf said: “We will do our best to make sure that justice is done; justice to the accused persons, and justice to the state. The Nigerian Army is for justice and we are therefore, going to make sure that this is applied to everybody.

“Nobody has stopped the salary of any of the accused officers and soldiers; they have access to their families, and lawyers. To the best of my knowledge, none of them has been denied access to anything and we promise their lawyers that if at all there is any document that has not been released to facilitate their defence; we will release them as and when necessary.’’

On issues raised against the Judge Advocate, JA, Brig-Gen. Yusuf said: “There is no contention concerning the role of the JA. Like the Prosecuting Counsel said, the case is normally investigated by the Nigerian Army Corps of Military Police and they have very competent lawyers.

‘’After investigation, the one that will be charged, they normally frame the charges.

“So the JA is never part of the investigation or framing of the charges against the accused persons. The JA is a personnel of the Army Headquarters Garrison; remember these accused officers and soldiers allegedly committed the offences outside AHQ Garrison.

The offences were allegedly committed in various locations, which means that they were investigated in those locations and as at the time they committed those offences the Judge Advocate was never the Commanding Officer of any of those accused persons.

Members of the court martial sit during the inauguration to try soldiers accused of mutiny tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants in Abuja on October 2, 2014. Nearly 100 soldiers tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants in Nigeria's far northeast appeared at a military court martial on Thursday, facing a range of charges including mutiny. The hearing comes just weeks after a tribunal sentenced 12 soldiers to death following their conviction for shooting at their commanding officer in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in May. AFP PHOTO
Members of the court martial sit during the inauguration to try soldiers accused of mutiny tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants in Abuja on October 2, 2014. Nearly 100 soldiers tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants in Nigeria’s far northeast appeared at a military court martial on Thursday, facing a range of charges including mutiny. The hearing comes just weeks after a tribunal sentenced 12 soldiers to death following their conviction for shooting at their commanding officer in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in May. AFP PHOTO

“To the best of our ability, we have advised both counsel; prosecution and defence to as much as possible not to prolong our stay on this matter. We don’t want an unnecessary adjournments; that is why we advise them to as much as possible, finish this case on time.

There was heated argument shortly after the inauguration, however, as yesterday as defence Counsel of the 97 accused soldiers questioned the rationale by the JA, Lt Col. Ukpe Ukpe to be at the GCM when he issued the legal advice for the officers and soldiers to be prosecuted.

Meanwhile, a breakdown of the figure showed that four Lt Colonels, one Major, four Captains, five Lieutenants, one Second Lieutenant and one Warrant Officer and 81 soldiers would be tried.

Replying, the defence counsel, Falana decried lack of Covenning Oder, charge sheet and summary of evidence against the accused soldiers.

In an interview later, Chief Falana said: “I have no cause to doubt the integrity of the members of the court. I have taken part in a number of courts of this nature and even where we lost, we had gone on appeal and we succeeded. So there is no cause for alarm. I think the President of the court has assured the accused persons that justice will be done.

‘’We have not been appropriately charged, we don’t have the charge sheet, we don’t have the convening order, we don’t have the summary of evidence of those who are coming to give evidence against our clients and the law says that all accused persons are entitled to the full materials for their defence.

‘’The court has also made a point that all necessary documents would be made available to counsel for the accused persons so that trial can commence in earnest. As far as the defence is concerned we will try as much as possible to ensure that we get justice for our clients. This is not an abnormal court. It is part of the courts created by the constitution. Under military dictatorship, everything would have been shrouded in secrecy with the press invited only during judgment.

Where we were not comfortable, we have raised our concern and the court has given the appropriate order.

Lawyers question choice of Judge Advocate

Judge Advocate Ukpe relying on section 134 (2) of the Armed Forces Act, however, ‘’Nothing excludes me as the JA, from participating in the trial.  Investigation should not be confused with legal advice, he said.

THE ACCUSED PERSONS

1. Lt Col Ss Tilawan
2..lt Col Db Danzang
3.lt Col Ic Ogamanya
4.lt Col Su Abubakar

Members of the court martial sit during the inauguration to try soldiers accused of mutiny tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants in Abuja on October 2, 2014. Nearly 100 soldiers tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants in Nigeria's far northeast appeared at a military court martial on Thursday, facing a range of charges including mutiny. The hearing comes just weeks after a tribunal sentenced 12 soldiers to death following their conviction for shooting at their commanding officer in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in May. AFP PHOTO
Members of the court martial sit during the inauguration to try soldiers accused of mutiny tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants in Abuja on October 2, 2014. Nearly 100 soldiers tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants in Nigeria’s far northeast appeared at a military court martial on Thursday, facing a range of charges including mutiny. The hearing comes just weeks after a tribunal sentenced 12 soldiers to death following their conviction for shooting at their commanding officer in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in May. AFP PHOTO

5. Maj Ii Sakaba
6. Capt 1\1 Hamadikko
7.capt Z Alhaji
8 Capt Mb Abdullahi
9. Capt Sy Musa
10. Lt T Garba
11. Lt F Ogunleke
12.Lt a Abdullahi
13.Lt Im Okoro
14. Lt D Wunuji
15. 2lt Jm Uweh
16.Wo Benedict Okoye
17. Sgt Oladipo
18.Cpl Mustapha Bandado
19.cpl Andrew Ogolekwu
20. Cpi Saturday Efa
21.Cpl Usman Mohammed
22. Lcpl Henry Shaibu
23. Lcpl James
24. Cpl Daniel Joshua
25. Lcpl Ndubisi Sebastine
26.Lcpl Dauda Dalha Tu
27. Lcpl Aliyu Ahmed
28. Lcpl Kasega Aoso
29. Lcpl Bankole Taiwo
30.lcpl Ochehepo Sule
31.lcpl Ayodele Ola Wole
32.lcpl Isaiah Olofu
33.lcpi Ibrahim Yahana
34.lcpl Mallam Jacob
3s.lcpl Nwonu Friday
36.lcpl Yusuf Habu
37.pte Chindo Julius
38.lcpl Joshua Friday
39.lcpl Gbenga Adeba Yo
40.lcpl Ali Abdullahi
41.lcpl Abubakar Ibrahim
42.lcpl Anthony Simeon
43.lcpj Ngene Douglas
44.pte Olayode Oluwasegun
45.pte Jimba Ahmed
46.lcpl Ibrahim Yohana
47.pte Tijjani Jimoh
48.pte Kabiru Abubakar
49.pte Mamuda Sywasan
50.pte James Emmanuel
51.pte Mukaila Musa
57.pte Ahunanya Temple
53.pte Eyakise Uwah
54.pte Ilesanmi Seun
55.pte Ishiaku Solomon
55. Pte Audu Daniel
56.Pte Boaz Lucky
57.Pte Mohammed Abubakar
58.pte Anas a Walu
59.pte Babangida Jamilu
60.pte Nasiru Zubairu
61.pte Shehu Sa’adu
62.pte Mohammed Suleiman
64.pte Hashimu Ibrahim
65.tpr Nnanna Promise
66.Pte Magaji Ahmadu
67.Pte Amao Bukola
68.Pte Wuyep John
69.Pte Oti Kelvin
70.Pte Ameh Mathew
71.Pte Olaitan Joseph
72.Pte Kulukulu Endurance
73.Pte Usman Isaac
74.Pte Ocheje Williams
75.Pte Adila Dangana
76.Pte Sudan Hannania
77.Pte Sunday Godwin
78.Pte Datti Hassan
79.Pte Abubakar Garba
80.pte Joseph Dauda
81.Pte Chiemela Azubulke
82.Pte Abubakar Mohammed
83.Pte Anagu Mark
84.Pte Danbaba Francis
85.Pte Oton Asuabiat
86Pte Nwachukwu Udo
87.Pte Ibrahim Saliu
88.Pte Abafe Syl Vester
89.Pte Eze Isaac
90.Pte Abubakar Mohammed
91.Pte Samuel Michael
92.Pte Ishaya Musa
93.Pte Ogai Douglas
94.Pte Etim Peter
95.Pte Hermas Okpe
96.Tpr Oyedokun Halimat
97. Pte Nafiu Umar

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