A total of 158 errant personnel of the Nigerian military working in Northeast Nigeria are to be arraigned before a military court-martial, officials said.
Among the 158 military personnel, are 28 officers, including a Brigadier General and 130 soldiers.
Theatre Commander Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Christopher Musa, who inaugurated the court-martial at the Maimalari Cantonment said the 158 military personnel would be tried in three separate courts-martial.
The Theatre Commander said the personnel would be tried under one special court-martial and two separate general courts-martial. The special court-martial pertains to infractions that are purely military-related while the general court-martial deals with offences that are civil in nature.
He said the general court martial-1 and the special court-martial would be sitting in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, while the general court martial-2 that would be inaugurated on Monday, Oct 11 in Yobe State would be sitting in Damaturu, the state’s capital.
Major General Musa noted that court-martial was set up by the military to “deal with matters that pertain to the regimentation, discipline and general misconduct of troops, as a means of enforcing internal discipline.
He said the military is governed by two sets of laws which are the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The Theatre Commander called on the three separate court-martial members to discharge their duties diligently without fear or favour, and to ensure justice is served to victims, accused and the state whose laws are alleged to have been broken”.
He empathised with the accused officers and soldiers that they must understand that it was not at the pleasure of the military authority to see their colleagues in the front line being prosecuted.
“It is not easy to see an officer or commander who has sacrificed his or her life to be in the front being prosecuted,” Musa said.
“Anybody that is here has sacrificed himself to be here. And we must sustain discipline. That is why the court must do the needful, apply the rules, follow the laws and ensure that justice is done to all.”
He said anybody that wants to join the military must understand that the military has the laws that guide it.
The General Court Martial-1 is to be headed by Major General Bainze Mohammed; while the Special Court-martial will be headed by Brigadier General Dominic Udofa as its President.
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