Army to court-martial Brig-Gen., 21 others in Lagos
The Nigeria Army will on January 16, 2015 arraign one brigadier-general and 21 other officers before a General Court Martial in Lagos, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, who is a defence lawyer to some of the soldiers confirmed to The PUNCH on Wednesday.
While the army authorities have yet to release the charges preferred against the accused, The PUNCH learnt that the officers would go on trial for offences they allegedly committed in line of duty while battling insurgents in the North-East zone of the country.
Falana said he had yet to receive the charges against his clients.
The GCM is to hold at the 9 Brigade Officers’ Mess, Ikeja Cantonment, Lagos.
The accused officers include Brig.-Gen. J.O. Komolafe; Colonels A. Laguda, V. Ebhaleme, V.O. Ita, and I.B. Maina.
Others are Colonels I. A Aboi, I.M Kabir, M.H. Abubakar, A. A. Egbejule, N. N. Orok, C. A. Magaji, A.O. Agwu, A.J.S. Gulani, O.O. Obolo and A.M. Adetuyi.
The list also include Lieutenant-Colonels I. A. Aboi, I.M. Kabir, M.H. Abubakar, A. A. Egbejule, N. N. Orok, C. A. Magaji, A.O. Agwu, A.J.S. Gulani, O.O. Obolo and A.M. Adetuyi.
The only Major among the accused officers is M. M. Idris and the others include Captains M Adamu, O. A. Adenaika, M. Gidado, M.M. Clark and S. Raymond.
S.O. Olowa is the only second lieutenant among the officers.
Their arraignment comes on the heels of the amendment of the convening order for the General Court Martial by the General Officer Commanding 81 Division of the Nigeria Army, Maj. Gen. T.I. Dibi, on August 6, 2014.
The amendment of the convening order replaces Brig.-Gen. I. O. Rabiu with Brig.-Gen. A. M. Sabo as the President of the court.
Other members of the panel are four other brigadiers-general – C. O. Ayara, J. C. Egbudom, S. A. Yaro, and J. Sarham.
The order indicated that Brig.-Gen. A. M Aliyu was on the waiting list.
It also nominated Lt. L.B. Berepiki and Warrant Officer Peter Ahmadu as additional prosecution counsel.
Meanwhile, the GCM set up by the Nigerian Army to try three officers and 13 soldiers of the 331 Artillery Regiment, Biu, Borno State, in relation with the April 14, 2014 abduction of the students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, has freed one of the officers, Capt. O.O. Ogunrinde.
Ogunrinde, who was arraigned on a two count of conduct prejudicial to service discipline and relaying information without verification was found to be innocent by the court and was discharged and acquitted.
The Army Captain was the second-in-command at the 331 Artillery Regiment, Biu, when the Chibok girls were abducted by the insurgents.
The abduction of the girls has provoked global outrage but most of the girls remain in custody of the violent Ismaic sect, Boko Haram, trill date.
Ogunrinde was said to have been arraigned for allegedly relaying information without verification concerning the number of girls abducted.
The defence counsel to Ogunrinde, Mr. A.I. Omachi, said that the trial court decided the case in favour of his client, having found him not guilty of the charges levelled against him.
Ogunrinde was the only Army personnel who escaped a jail sentence by the court, which sentenced two officers and 13 soldiers in relation with the Chibok incident on December 23, 2014.