Nigerian Army To Court-Martial 3 Officers, 11 Soldiers Over Murder, Other Crimes

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The 6 Division of the Nigerian Army has set up a general court-martial to try three officers and eleven soldiers for alleged crimes ranging from murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, desertion, and more.

According to the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Major General Jamil Sarham, the offences are all punishable under the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The GOC, while inaugurating the court-martial, explained that discipline and professional conduct in the army will not be compromised, insisting that justice will not only be done but seen to be done in the matter.

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He said, "The establishment of Court Martial is predicated on the fact that the Armed Forces of Nigeria holds its personnel in high esteem hence its resolve to ensure that a thorough investigation must be conducted before any suspect can be put on trial as it is in the instant case.

"Let me at this juncture assure all of us that justice will not only be done on this entire trial but be seen to have been done. This is not only because the case against each accused person was thoroughly investigated to ensure that an innocent person is not wrongly tried and punished.

Read the GOC’s full speech highlighting the crimes for which the personnel are being court-martialed and more below:

I welcome you to Python Officers Mess, the venue of inauguration ceremony of General Court Martial (GCM) in 6 Div AOR today Sat, 15 Jun 19. The NA is a creation of the Nigerian Constitution to carry out specific tasks to support the government effort in providing security for the Nigerian Nation.

To achieve this, a discipline and professional Armed Forces is imperative and this in line with the Chief of Army Staffs vision which is To have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles. There is no gainsaying that unless such a body of professionals is disciplined, achieving victory in battle and other specified assignments would not be easy.

Section 131 of the Armed Forces Act, therefore, conferred on me the power to convene this General Court Martial and by so doing to try the accused persons who have allegedly violated some codes guiding our professional conduct.

The offences for which the accused persons are being tried ranges from murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, desertion, offences in relation to public and services property, disobedience to standing orders and conducts to the prejudice to service discipline, all punishable under the Armed Forces Act CAP A20 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The Court Martial, Ladies and Gentleman in only one of the apparatus put in place by the Armed Forces of Nigeria to discipline its erring personnel. The establishment of Court Martial is predicated on the fact that the Armed Forces of Nigeria holds its personnel in high esteem hence its resolve to ensure that a thorough investigation must be conducted before any suspect can be put on trial as it is in the instant case.

Let me at this juncture assure all of us that justice will not only be done on this entire trial but be seen to have been done. This is not only because the case against each accused person was thoroughly investigated to ensure that an innocent person is not wrongly tried and punished as I pointed out earlier. Also, HQ 6 Div has painstakingly selected credible officers as members of the Court Martial to ensure fair hearing and justice.

In addition to that, due regard was accorded to these officers having in-depth knowledge of military law and outstanding experience of military duties. I, therefore, urge the members to be just and fair in the conduct of the trial to ensure that each accused person is given a fair trial.

As we all know, the trial is not only aimed at seeing that offenders are punished but to serve as a deterrent to others so as to prevent future occurrence. In this light, justice, therefore, is a 3-way traffic; Justice for the accused, justice for the victim and justice for the state. I must state clearly that the accused persons are presumed innocent of the offences charged against them until proven guilty by this Court. Let me thank all of you here present particularly members of the press for finding time to grace the occasion.

Gentlemen, with these few words, I urge you to do justice. I thank you all.

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