Defence chief, minister support amendment of Armed Forces Act
CDS seeks entitlements for wounded soldiers
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, has supported the amendment of Armed Forces Act (AFA), saying the review would restore hope and dignity to their personnel.
Olonisakin also seeks for statutory entitlements to members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria that were killed or wounded in action as such provision was not available in the extant enactment.
Speaking at a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on the review of the Armed Forces Act organised by the Ministry of Defence, the CDS said this exercise would consider possible amendments to Armed Forces Act to improve on alleged human rights violations by the military.
The CDS added that another area of concern was the issue of appearance of lawyers in the Armed Forces before civil courts, adding that their lawyers were being restricted to appear only before courts-martial and even where courts-martial decisions go on appeal, the appeals are handled by civilians that did not take part in the trial.
He noted that several courts-martial decisions are being reversed on technical grounds to the detriment of enforcement of discipline, which is a cardinal requirement of any military service.
In the same vein, Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, has emphasised the need to review the Armed Forces Act to bring it in line with what obtains in developed democracies.
Dan-Ali, who declared open the meeting, stressed that areas for review should include the command influence in the composition and administration of the military justice system, among others.