Femi Falana(SAN) has written to the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, to secure the release of the 12 soldiers that were jailed on September 16, 2014, for mutiny.
Falana contended that since their death sentence was commuted to a 10-year jail term, and since they had spent more than 75% of that time in prison, the soldiers qualified to benefit from the amnesty granted by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The names of the soldiers, as contained in Falana’s letter to Aregbesola are: Lieutenant Corporal Yusuf Shuaibu, Corporal Jasper Braidolor, Corporal David Musa, Lieutenant Corporal Friday Onuh, Lieutenant Corporal Igono Emmanuel, Lieutenant Corporal Stephen Clement, Private Andrew Ngbede, Private Nurudeen Ahmed, Private Allan Linus, Private Ifeanyi Alukhagbe, Private Amadi Chukwudi and Private Alao Samue.
In the letter, entitled “Request for the Release of 12 Convicted Inmates in the Kirikiri and Ikoyi Custodial Centres, Lagos, Pursuant to the Amnesty Granted by President Muhamadu Buhari,” Falana said: “We have the instructions of our clients to urge your Excellency to use your good offices to secure the immediate release of our clients in accordance with the terms of the presidential amnesty.”
According to Falana: “Our clients were charged before a General Court-Martial with a six-count charge of committing mutiny, criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny, attempted murder, disobedience to particular orders, insubordinate behaviour contrary to and punishable under the law, and false accusation.
“At the end of the trial they were convicted and sentenced to death.
“However, upon a review of the case of our clients, the confirming authority upheld the conviction but commuted the death sentence to 10 years imprisonment.
“Since our clients are entitled to remission of the 10-year jail term, they are required to spend a total of 80 months in prison custody. From September 16, 2014 to April 20, 2020 our clients have spent over 67 months in custody.
“In exercise of the powers of Prerogative of Mercy under Section 175 of the Constitution, President Muhammadu Buhari has granted amnesty to certain categories of convicted inmates, including those who have spent 75% of their sentence after remission.
“Having been in custody for 67 months out of the prison term of 80 months, you will agree with us that our clients have spent more than 75% of their 10-year imprisonment.”
It was based on the foregoing that Falana wrote the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Aregbesola, to intervene and effect the soldiers’ release from prison.