The Nigerian Army’s Joint Task Force North-East operation, Hadin Kai, on Saturday inaugurated two court martials to try defaulting soldiers serving at the operation ground in the North-East.
The the ater Commander of the joint task force, Maj. Gen. Christopher Musa, said the military personnel numbering 158 would be tried on matters relating “directly to the regimentation, discipline, efficiency and morale of the military.”
Musa said this while inaugurating the general and special court martials at the officers’ Mess of the Maimalari Cantonment in Maiduguri, Borno State.
He said, “As we all know, courts martial trials are regimental and judicial exercises, the end of which may review, reduce or remove the rights and privileges of any convicted service personnel. To maintain the armed forces in a state of readiness, the military, as an institution, must be ready to enforce internal discipline effectively in accordance with the extent laws.”
Musa added that the court martials were in line with the two set of laws guiding the command. He said the court was not only a jury for trial but also a court to speedily dispose of cases and award mete out punishments in the event of conviction of any personnel.
He said, “The military has its code of service discipline to meet its peculiar disciplinary needs. In this regard, emphasis shall be laid on statute laws and the traditional military regimentation with due adherence to the fair hearing requirements as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.”
According to the commander, the first court martial will be presided over by one Maj. Gen. Bainze Mohammed, while Lt. Col. Rotimi Bakare will be the judge advocate. The second one has Brig. Gen. Dominic Udofia as its president while Squadron Leader Audu Satomi will serve as the judge advocate.
Musa added, “In this regard, the officers and soldiers shall be given the right to fair hearing and granted access to legal representation. If found guilty and convicted, they will be granted the right of appeal in the Appeal Court.
“The motive is not to demoralise the troops serving their fatherland. As soldiers in the North-East, every patriotic Nigerian that has accepted the challenge to have a career as a soldier knows the rules and rules are to be observed. If, in the course of defending our nation the soldiers run foul, the laws will take its course.”
The president of the general court martial, Mohammed, said 28 officers would be tried while the remaining 130 were soldiers serving in the various units of the operation ground.
All the personnel were paraded at the inaugural courts martial as they had all been arrested and detained at the military cantonment in Maiduguri.
Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Police Command has denied arresting seven soldiers for allegedly aiding banditry.
The spokesperson for the command, SP Mohammed Shehu, in a statement on Saturday, said the purported arrest of the seven military personnel as reported on social media was untrue.
He said, “The attention of Zamfara State Police Command has been drawn to fake news trending on social media platforms with regard to the arrest of seven serving soldiers of the Nigerian Army by the command for being deeply involved in banditry activities in Zamfara State.
“The command wishes to debunk the story and further make it categorically clear that records at the moment indicate no arrest of any member of the military as being speculated on social media. The command, therefore, enjoins members of the public to discountenance the fake news.”