Army demotes, jails soldier for assault in Borno State
The Nigerian Army has convicted a soldier for assaulting a 10 year-old boy and violation of the rule of engagement in Borno.
The soldier, Staff Sergeant Umar Sule allegedly assaulted the boy (names withheld) in his duty post in Maiduguri and “inflicted grievous bodily harm” on him, leading to the amputation of the victim’s left arm.
Sule was accused of violating the rule of engagement by bringing unauthorised person to one of the army guard locations in Maiduguri metropolis in March, contrary to paragraph 2 (z) of the Code of Conduct for troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East sub-region of the country.
The case was reported to the army authorities in Borno by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) following complaints by the victim’s parents.
Counsel to Sule, Grema Abba pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy since the convict was a first offender.
He said: “Having diligently served the nation and the Nigerian Army for about 26 years. He has served well in both local and foreign operations and has no criminal record.”
The prosecution counsel, Maj. Nkenna Nyaro did not object to the plea yesterday.
President of the court, Brig-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, while ruling on the prayer said the court has listened to the convict’s plea in mitigation and looked at various penalties provided in both Section 104 (2) (b) of Armed Forces Act CAP 20, the Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as well as section 119 of Armed Forces Act CAP A20 LFN 2004 and considered the need to maintain discipline in the Nigerian Army.
“You are therefore sentenced to three years imprisonment and reduction of your rank from staff sergeant to private,” he said.
He added that the sentence was however subject to the confirmation of the army authorities in consonance with sections 141 (2) and 152 (1) of the Armed Forces Act CAP A20 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.