16 Soldiers, Army Officer Face Court Martial Over Alleged Murder, Sale Of Weapons, Others

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SIXTEEN soldiers and one officer will in the coming weeks attempt to exonerate themselves over allegations of murder, robbery, sale of weapons and other sundry allegations as Army Court Martial begins sitting in Bassa, Plateau State.

The servicemen on trial were charged with a variety of offences, including armed robbery, murder, illicit possession and sale of arms and ammunition, all of which were at variance with their operational mandate within the 3rd Armoured Division.

On Tuesday, during the court martial’s first session held at the 3rd Armoured Division, Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, Nigerian Army in Bassa Local Government Area, the acting Deputy Director of Legal Services, 3 Division, Nigerian Army, Major Aminu Mansur Mairuwa, who spoke after the inauguration of the General Court Martial, noted that the Nigerian Military was an institution that believed in discipline and would continue to ensure the full application of its internal disciplinary mechanism.

He said the accused personnel were brought before the court martial to follow the necessary procedures premised on respect for the rule of law and ensuring that there was compliance with the principle of natural justice and the extant rules and procedures.

“The essence is to make sure that the military personnel always operate within the confines of our rules of engagement, code of conduct, and respect to international best practices,” Mairuwa stated.

The President of the General Court Martial, Brig. Gen. Liafis Bello, who took time to read the order of the Convening Officer and General Officer Commanding 3 Division, Maj. Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar maintained that the Nigerian Army, as an institution, thrived on discipline, regimentation, and utmost professionalism.

He said unveiling the court martial in the Nigerian Army was a routine duty aimed at compliance with the dictates of the military justice system, pointing out that the 3 Division Headquarters of the Nigerian Army had keyed into the command philosophy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, which is “to transform the Nigerian Army into a well-trained, equipped and highly motivated force towards achieving our constitutional responsibilities within a joint environment.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Judge Advocate, Maj. Nasir Abdullahi stressed that the court martial was set up to enhance discipline and ensure that erring officers and soldiers were investigated and prosecuted within a reasonable time through the laid down rules, regulations, and procedures.

Abdullahi charged the accused and their defence counsel to avoid frivolous adjournments that might lead to unnecessary delay in dispensing justice.

The representative of the Plateau State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, Samson Gotom, stressed the need for a fair hearing and expressed satisfaction with the composition of the court.

The court session adjourned till 6 March 2024, for commencement of trial.

 

Eighteen-Eleven Media 

 

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