From Punch online
The Nigeria Army failed to begin the trial of 22 officers who were scheduled to be arraigned before a General Court Martial in Lagos on Monday.
The GCM was to hold at the 9 Brigade Officers’ Mess, Ikeja Cantonment, Lagos.
The case was on Monday adjourned till “the end of the month” without giving any specific date, our correspondent learnt.
Though an amended convening order constituting the court martial had been issued since August 6, 2014, the specific charges preferred against the accused soldiers had not been released to the defence.
But it was learnt that the officers are being accused of offences they allegedly committed in their line of duty in the ongoing war against insurgency in the North-East.
The accused officers comprise a brigadier general, J. O Komolafe, and other officers in the rank of colonel, lieutenant colonel, major, captain and second lieutenant.
The accused persons include Brig.-Gen J.O Akomolafe and Colonels A. Laguda, V. Ebhaleme, V.O Ita, and I.B Maina.
The Lieutenant Colonels among the accused soldiers are, 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 them is M. M Idris. The rest comprise five captains – M Adamu, O. A Adenaika, M. Gidado, M.M Clark and S. Raymond – as well as one second lieutenant, S.O Olowa.
One of the defence lawyers in the case, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), called for immediate release of the accused soldiers, “since it is evident that the army authorities have no charges against them.”
The amended convening order for the General Court Martial was issued 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.