Nigerian-defence-headquarters

The Defence Headquarters has faulted Human Rights Radio for allowing live broadcast of aggrieved former military personnel who complained against various disciplinary actions taken against them by their respective services.

The Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Sawyerr, in a statement on Thursday, said the videos of the broadcast were also viral on social media.

Sawyerr said that some of the former soldiers, most of whom were dismissed from service for various acts of indiscipline and misdemeanours, made efforts to rationalise or give excuses for the various infractions that led to their exit from service using most uncouth language.

He said that while the military had respect for people’s right to free expression and justice, it was important to know that the military profession had its peculiarity that borders on discipline, truth and respect.

According to him, it also have a standard and effective procedure of seeking redress by any aggrieved personnel, even if dismissed.

“Notably, there exist the Harmonised Terms and Condition of Service (HTACOS) Soldiers/Ratings/Airmen (Revised) 2017 which was reviewed and signed into law on Jan. 26, 2018 to harmonise the management of the three services.

“Similarly, the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 has relevant Section dealing with Discipline and Administration of Justice.

“Section 147 – 202 of the Armed Forces Act which expressly deals with Post Trial Procedures as well as Appeals from Court Martial.

“What constitute status bar to appeals of cases are also well encapsulated in the Armed Forces Act.

“The extant laws are therefore available for persons appearing as Counsels to affected Service personnel to avail themselves,” he said.

Sawyerr stated that military service in Nigeria was voluntary, saying it was expected that whoever decided to serve in the noble profession would abide by its ethics and code of conduct.

He explained that there were procedures of ensuring the administration of military justice and discipline if any personnel thus run foul of the law.

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He added that seeing dismissed military personnel disparaging the establishment by raising issues of perceived injustice years after their cases must have been disposed of left much to be desired.

According to him, it is advisable that whenever issues of service discipline arises the media should give the respective services benefit of doubt to address the issues raised rather than jump into conclusion of injustice and grant them airtime to reel out falsehood to justify their dismissal.

“It is important to note that the military is structured with effective laws that guide discipline and administration of justice to prevent it from being governed through whims and caprices of commanders.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria thus view the action of these online and Human Right radio and television stations as an act designed to portray the armed forces in a bad light.

“The armed forces would therefore wish to advise such stations involved in acts aimed at portraying them in bad light to desist henceforth,” he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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