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Law expert condemns sentencing of soldiers

17 September 2014, 20:53

Abuja - The former Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association, Monday Ubani, has kicked against the execution of 12 soldiers a military tribunal sentenced to death for alleged mutiny.

Reacting to the judgment, Ubani said the so-called trial of the alleged military law breakers remained a “questionable procedure” as often times the rule of evidence was not complied with.

He thus urged the convicted soldiers to take their case to the Court of Appeal where they were likely to get fair trial.

Ubani however said that in the event that the Court of Appeal upheld the military tribunal’s verdict, the approval authority for the execution of the soldiers should consider the circumstances that led to the alleged mutiny.

“If in the event that the Court of Appeal upholds this judgment, government must consider the circumstances that led to the mutiny that these soldiers allegedly committed. As we all understand, these soldiers were merely protesting over lack of proper equipment to fight the Boko Haram sect. Any approval authority for the death of these soldiers must consider this,” Ubani said in an interview with this publication in Lagos.

Also read: 12 soldiers sentenced to death for mutiny

“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. If the soldiers are executed as ordered by the tribunal, the morale of junior military officers who are fighting the insurgents will be wounded," he added.

On Monday, the military court found 13 out of the 18 soldiers standing trial for mutiny and other offences guilty.

Twelve of the convicted soldiers were sentenced to death, five were discharged and acquitted while the remaining one was jailed for 28 days with hard labour.

The soldiers had on May 14 allegedly fired shots at the General Officer Commanding the newly created 7 Division of Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Ahmed Mohammmed, in Maiduguri.

The act is viewed in the military as mutiny.

The soldiers were found guilty of criminal conspiracy, mutiny, attempt to commit murder, insubordination to a particular order, insubordination and false accusation.

– CAJ News

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