NIGERIA: 18 SOLDIERS GET DEATH, JAIL TERMS OVER BOKO HARAM
September 15, 2013: For their alleged links to Boko Haram, some soldiers are to face death penalty while others will go to jail in Nigeria. Those affected are one lieutenant, one warrant officer and 16 others. The General Court Martial has been trying them since July 1, this year.Â
They were accused of offences ranging from communicating with Boko Haram members, cowardly behaviour, murder, to manslaughter. They were being tried by the Three Armoured Division as the case fell within its Area of Responsibility (AOR).
A military source said that those soldiers who were sentenced to death actually deserved the sentence because âfor serving soldiers who swore to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria and Nigerians therein to be found conniving with the enemies of Nigeria (Boko Haram) is a treasonable offence which attracts capital punishmentâ.
âThe Boko Haram members do not hide their sinister agenda. They want to destabilise the country. Everybody knows that. For soldiers to now secretly work with them at the expense of the country is treasonable. And it is so treated.â
Contacted for comments, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations of the Division, Col. Texas Chukwu, told The Guardian that he was preparing a formal speech in this regard, and that this might be made public tomorrow (September 16).
At the inauguration of the Court Martial on July 1, 2013, where all the 18 accused military personnel were arraigned, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Armoured Division, Jos, Maj.-Gen. Ebiobowei Bonna Awala, remarked that the accused soldiers facing the court martial were from the Three Armoured Division, Joint Task Force (JTF), otherwise known as Operation Restore Order from Maiduguri and Special Task Force (STF), known as Operation Safe Haven, from Plateau State. He said that the soldiers had been duly investigated for the various offences they were alleged to have committed.
According to Awala, the General Court Martial is one of those instruments conferred on him by virtue of Armed Forces Act Chapter A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria to address problems of this nature. (Sources: ngrguardiannews.com, 16/09/2013)