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Army inaugurates two new special courts martial

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The Nigerian Army has inaugurated two special courts martial to try officers and soldiers in the ongoing counter-insurgency operation in the North East.

Inaugurating the members yesterday at the Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri, Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, said military trials were to deal with matters on discipline, efficiency and morale of the military.

According to him, a court martial is a regimented and judicial exercise that may review, reduce or remove the rights and privileges of any convicted service personnel, adding that the safety and wellbeing of citizens largely depends on the readiness of troops to guard against threats to national security.

“This is a tributary of criminal trial that flows into the sea of Nigerian criminal justice system,” he said.

The military, he added, must be in a position to enforce internal discipline effectively and efficiently.

“Breaches of military discipline must be dealt with speedily and punished more severely than would be the case if a civilian is engaged in such a conduct,” he warned.

He described recourse to the ordinary criminal courts as inadequate to serve the disciplinary needs of the military.

Emphasis should be laid on a fine blend of traditional military regimentation to fair hearing requirements in the 1999 Constitution, he asserted.

On negligence, Adeniyi said, “It is worrisome to observe the increasing cases of negligence, lackadaisical and cowardly attitudes of many personnel during Boko Haram offensives across the theatre.

“These unprofessional and disgraceful habits have led to the death of many of our gallant colleagues. These attitudes must not be allowed to continue; the situation must be changed.”

He assured that justice must be done to the 20 officers and soldiers facing trial in the special courts.


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