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Published On: Tue, Sep 16th, 2014

Mutiny: Outrage trails soldiers death sentence

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Nigerian ArmyFrom Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

Outrage yesterday trailed the judgment of a court martial, set up by the military authorities to try eighteen officers for offences committed while on internal security operations in the North-East.

Many Nigerians expressed displeasure with the death sentence handed over to the officers.

Former Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Barr. Monday Ubani said the trial of alleged law breakers under military tribunal remains a questionable procedure as often times the rule of evidence are not complied to.

Barr. Ubani urged the convicted soldiers to take their case to the Court of Appeal where they would most likely get fair judgment.

He, however, said that in the event that the Court of Appeal upholds the military tribunal verdict, the approval authority for the execution of the soldiers should consider the circumstance that led to the alleged mutiny committed by the soldiers.

“If in the event that the Court of Appeal upholds this judgment, government must consider the circumstances that led to the alleged mutiny that these soldiers committed. As we all understand, these soldiers were merely protesting over lack of proper equipment to fight the Boko Haram sect.

“Any authority approving the death of these soldiers must consider this. Moreover, the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan is asking for over N1billion from the National Assembly to equip the military shows that the soldiers were not well equipped and were making genuine complaints,” he said.

Ubani also noted that if the soldiers are executed as ordered by the tribunal, the morale of junior military officers who are fighting the insurgents would be negatively affected.

Also,another speaker, Sylvester Ola-Adebomi, on his part queried: “Should these 12 young men sentenced to death be killed? In view of the prevailing circumstance at the time when the crime was committed, these 12 young men lives should be spared. The death sentence should be reduced to short jail term and they should be dismissed from the Army. The outright death sentence is too harsh and inhuman.”

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