Army gets special court martial to try two major generals
• Journalists barred from trial of
six military personnel in Ibadan
The Military High Command yesterday at the Mogadishu Cantonment in Abuja inaugurated a Special Military Court Martial (SMCM) to try two major generals for yet-to-be disclosed offences, with Air Vice Marshal (AVM) James Gbum as President.
The two senior Army Officers, Major General Patrick Falola, formerly the Commander 68 Army Reference Hospital Yaba, Lagos and Major General Ibrahim Sani, who until now was the Chief of Army Transformation and Innovation Centre, are both being posted to Army jurisdiction to face trial, in accordance with military procedures.
Though the officers are yet to be actually arraigned, their defence counsels are yet to be told the offences for which they are being charged. But a source within said their offences range from official misconduct and dereliction of assigned duties, conducts unacceptable and punishable by the laws of the Armed Forces.
The seeming refusal of the prosecution to reveal the charges to the defence teams, nearly took shine off the inauguration ceremony, as the counsel to Major General Sani specifically, insisted that there is need for the prosecution to give the defence the charge sheet, identity of the prosecution witnesses and other relevant information as a matter of right, to help prepare their defence, “so as they would not appear to be ambushed with charges they are not prepared for.”
But the prosecution counsel, headed by the Lieutenant Colonel Ukpe Ukpe, the Deputy Director Legal Services, Army Headquarters Garrison, argued that the constitution clearly spelt it out that at least 24 hours before proper arraignment, the defence should be properly furnished with all the necessary facilities to help their defence.
The Judge Advocate, Colonel Sa’ad Musa advised that with the proper arraignment slated for Monday May 9, 2016, is three (3) days away, the prosecution therefore, has ample time to submit the necessary documents and facilities relevant in the case to the defence teams.
The Court Marshal convened by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, is headed by AVM Gbum, the Air Force Chief of Policy and Plans (CoPP), AVM Iya Abubakar and Rear Admiral Peter Agba as members, while Real Admiral Edwin Enechukwu is a waiting member.
And in Ibadan, Oyo State, journalists yesterday were barred from covering the trial of six military personal accused of murder, stealing and alleged sexual relationship with wives of other military personnel at the 2 Division of the Nigeria Army, Odogbo.
Those standing trial include a major, captain, two lieutenants, a corporal and one other.
They are being tried before a six-man panel set up by the General Officer Commanding 2 Division of the Nigeria Army, Odogbo, Major General Laz Ilo.
The military personnel whose trial commenced yesterday behind closed doors are accused of murder, stealing, and negligence of duties as well as alleged sexual relationship with spouses of other military personnel.
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