“Death Sentence On Nigerian Soldiers Is Genocide”- Falana Blasts Corrupt Military Officials

death sentence nigerian soldiers

Dec 18, 2014 – “Death Sentence On Nigerian Soldiers Is Genocide”- Falana Blasts Corrupt Nigerian Military Officials Embezzling Weapon Money

Yesterday, the General Court-Martial sitting in Abuja which tried another batch of 59 soldiers for conspiracy to mutiny and mutiny convicted 54 of the accused persons and sentenced them to death while 5 were discharged and acquitted. The acquittal was designed to give the false impression that the dubious verdict was fair and just. The soldiers were in the SF 111 Batallion which has 174 instead of 750 soldiers. The soldiers in the Batallion were neither equipped nor motivated. They are young men whose ages range between 21 and 25. Most of them joined the army in 2012.

With little or no training whatsoever they were deployed to fight the dreaded Boko Haram sect. The funds allocated for payment of the salaries and allowances of the soldiers and for purchase of arms and ammunition are usually diverted and cornered by corrupt military officers. Instead of bringing such unpatriotic officers to book the military authorities have engaged in the diversionary tactics of wasting the lives of innocent soldiers by sentencing them to death without any legal justification.

On July 9, 2014 the Boko Haram sect launched a ferocious attack on the Batallion. As the soldiers were ill-equipped and ill-motivated the well armed terrorists killed 3 officers and 23 soldiers and inflicted serious injuries on 82 others. While sympathizing with the bereaved soldiers the army authorities assured them that adequate weapons would be provided to match the sophisticated weapons of the Boko Haram sect. But without the provision of the said weapons the soldiers were ordered on August 4, 2014 to recapture Delwa, Balubulin and Damboa in Borno State from the Boko Haram terrorists. The soldiers demanded for weapons so as not to lose more officers and men in the circumstance. A few soldiers who embarked on the suicidal mission together with the Commanding Officer were ambushed by the Boko Haram troops.

When some weapons were made available on August 8, 2014, the soldiers moved to the battlefront, dislodged the satanic Boko Haram sect and liberated their captured colleagues and officers. They were commended for their bravery and sacrifice. But for some inexplicable reasons, the army authorities ordered that the soldiers be charged with mutiny for allegedly exposing the armed forces to embarrassment by asking for weapons! Thus, 60 soldiers were charged before the court-martial led by Brigadier-General M. Yusuf. The charge was however withdrawn against one of them on health ground. When the trial commenced against the remaining 59 the court-martial allowed defense correspondents and reporters to cover the proceedings. But the revealing testimonies of the prosecution witnesses embarrassed the army authorities.

In particular, the defence pointed out that by not providing the soldiers with adequate weapons the Federal Government had violated Section 217 (2) (b) of the Constitution which provides that the Federation shall, subject to an Act of the National Assembly made in that behalf, equip and maintain the armed forces as may be considered adequate and effective for the purpose of maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on land, sea or air.

It is public knowledge that it was when the trial of the soldiers was in progress that the President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, sought and obtained the approval of the National Assembly for a loan of USD$1 billion to purchase equipment for the prosecution of the war on terror. Up till now, the loan has not been utilized for the purchase of weapons!

It was on the basis of such revelation that the court-martial resorted to sitting in camera and prohibited the media from further reporting the proceedings. In the judgment delivered yesterday the court-martial refused to consider the evidence led in court and convicted 54 of the soldiers for having the temerity to ask for weapons to carry out the task of defending the territorial integrity of the nation. Since the soldiers were justified in refusing to commit suicide the verdict which is characterized by gross miscarriage of justice will not stand. Apart from the fact that the Prosecution did not lead any scintilla of evidence to prove the 2-count charge of conspiracy and mutiny against any of the convicts the Court-martial did not consider the defence of the soldiers in any material particular.

Convinced that soldiers who made a legitimate demand for equipment to fight the insurgents cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be properly convicted for mutiny we shall take all necessary legal measures to prevent the army authorities from giving effect to the genocidal verdict of the court-martial. We submit that the oath of allegiance taken by the accused soldiers is not a license to commit suicide. It is a solemn undertaking to defend the nation based on the expectation that the Federal Government would have complied with Section 217 of the Constitution on the mandatory requirement to equip the armed forces adequately. It is important to state that when equipment was made available on 18 August 2014, the accused soldiers fought gallantly.

Femi Falana SAN.

11 thoughts on ““Death Sentence On Nigerian Soldiers Is Genocide”- Falana Blasts Corrupt Military Officials

  1. Let them tamper justice with mercy pls. i think they are peoples children, somebody’s brothers, another person’s fathers, some people’s nephew, cousin, & relations & husbands as well. May God have mercy

  2. It’s high time we Nigerian citizens start speaking for ourselves, kill us no more! free our soldiers! we have died enough in this great dead nation and as a mother of a growing up child we say free our children! (Oh GOD let’s not weep in vain)

  3. Sincerely this is two edge sword. If the military refused to properly armed its soldiers how do you expect them to fight a war that required lethal weapons. On the other hand if our lawyers are intervening in military affairs in a bid to make name or otherwise no soldier will willing go to the war front even if armed with latest weapon if there is no discipline. The soldier also value his life like any other human beings. All these busy lawyers should take note that at the end of the day we need somebody to go to the war front not courts or cows. That said, the military should armed themselves properly so that their case can be justified by the reading public. The military as an occupation is very hazardous and any body joining such an occupation must already have made up his mind. That does not mean that such a gallant officer should not properly be protected by whatever means at the disposal of the military to safe guard his life.

  4. Everyday i shed tears for a country called herself a giant of a particular continent, how in God’s name can u ask someone that have ordinary stick on his hand to go ahead and fight person with a cutlass and sword…That means u don’t care if the person die or not… The blood of the innocent soldiers kill by the B H will ask the military heads and the head of government that partake in embezzlement

  5. Am a Kenyan n saddened by the ruling against
    Our brothers who happens to be nigerian soldiers.does killing of the soldiers bring justice to the innocent,promising poor thousands Nigerian citizens these virus book haram HV killed?And yet what the president can say about the book haram is that they r his sibling,they don’t need to be killed or treated in a bad way when they r slaughtering people like goat.WHERE IS. GOD TO JUDGE THESE WICKED. PRESIDENTS AND SELFFISH PRESIDENTS WE HV IN AFRICA.THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT THEMSELVES N THEIR POCKETS.IS THERE ANY OF THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS THEY HV AT WAR FRONT YET THEY SIT N WATCH.PLS LETS JOIN OUR FAITH N PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRIES BCZ THESE IS BYOND US.IT ONLY TAKES GOD’S INTERVENTION. THEY R SUPPOSED TO SENTENSE JONATHAN NOT THE SOLDIERS.ALTHOUGH I STRONGLY BELIEVE GOD. IS AT. WORK N SHALL FIGHT FOR THE WEAK N OPPRESSED.NA DE SAME THING WITH MY COUNTRY OOH.SO MAKE WE PRAY OOH.THE GOD OF ISRAEL IS STILL ALIVE.

  6. Am a Kenyan n saddened by the ruling against
    Our brothers who happens to be nigerian soldiers.does killing of the soldiers bring justice to the innocent,promising poor thousands Nigerian citizens these virus boko haram hv killed?And yet what the president can say about the boko haram is that they r his sibling,they don’t need to be killed or treated in a bad way when they r slaughtering people like goats.WHERE IS. GOD TO JUDGE THESE WICKED. PRESIDENTS AND SELFISH PRESIDENTS WE HV IN AFRICA.THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT THEMSELVES N THEIR POCKETS.IS THERE ANY OF THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS THEY HV AT WAR FRONT YET THEY SIT N WATCH.PLS LETS JOIN OUR FAITH N PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRIES BCZ THESE IS BYOND US.IT ONLY TAKES GOD’S INTERVENTION. THEY R SUPPOSED TO SENTENSE JONATHAN NOT THE SOLDIERS.ALTHOUGH I STRONGLY BELIEVE GOD IS AT WORK N SHALL FIGHT FOR THE WEAK N OPPRESSED.NA DE SAME THING WITH MY COUNTRY OOH.SO MAKE WE PRAY OOH.THE GOD OF ISRAEL IS STILL ALIVE.HE SHALL ANSWER TO THE CRY OF HIS CHILDREN.LETS NOT SIDE WITH EVIL.IF SOMEONE IS EVIL WE SHOULD NOT BE FOOLED TO SUPPORT EVIL PEOPLE.MOST ESPECIALLY AFRICAN PRESIDENTS THE SO CALLED LEADERS OF TODAY.

  7. Let’s call a spade a spade not a big spoons.we should stand firm and not side with evil.if one
    Is evil why do we HV to allow ourselves to be fooled n support evil?sori to say with what I see in my country.I feel its not the country I grew up knowing.things HV changed.if you vote its only one tribe that rules n that’s what tearing the country apart.I HV sworn that I will never cast my vote to anyone that doesn’t care about the welfare of his brother or sister.I ONLY FOCUS ON GOD ALONE N ONLY HIM.BECAUSE HES EVERYTHING I NEED IN LIFE NOT MAN.OUR PRESIDENTS HV FAILED US N GOD.

  8. The moderator please I refer my comment to (bezo) to start with where does he comes from is he (bezo) a human being or what? or is he part of Boko haram members who has opportunity to say something people of this calliber is a monster that hasn’t got any sense of humour or have feelings 4 others please do not allow people of the this nature to comment on this website any more.
    Thanks. Finally, God will give them freedom & justice I mean the condemned soldiers

  9. They should not be killed, let the military hierarchy swallow their pride and see these as an opportunity to sit back deliberate and come up with a lasting solution on how to eradicate corruption from their midst and restore the great institution back to its old glory when it was a rare thing to see a soldier walk carelessly on the street or be involve in an unnecessary street fight then they can handle their affairs with no one interfering .

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