A military court martial sitting in Maiduguri, Borno State on Tuesday sentenced two junior soldiers of the Nigerian Army to 23 years in prison each for stealing ammunition meant for combating Boko Haram insurgency.
The court on the same day sentenced Adamu Jagun, a corporal, to 10 years behind bars for a similar offence.
The convictions came at a time troops are fighting well-armed insurgents whose source of weaponry remains a mystery.
Troopers Eric Nwokoye and Macaulay Fortune, who were course mates and serving in the same unit in Madagali, Adamawa State, bagged 23 years imprisonment following their conviction on a five-count charge of unlawful possession of 2,136 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, belonging to the Nigerian Army.
According to the prosecution, they were nabbed in Yola, Adamawa State capital with a cache of arms stuffed in a large bag they intended to transport via a commercial taxi.
Also found in the bag were five empty AK-47 rifle magazines, 50 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition, and two rounds of Browning Machine Gun ammunition.
The two soldiers were exposed after their heist reportedly fell off from the bag as they prepared to board a commercial vehicle at Jambutu Motor Park in Jimeta, Yola, the court said.
The President of the military Court, Adamu Jagun, a Lieutenant-Colonel, said the two soldiers were found guilty of the five-count charge.
The third soldier, Garba Saidu, was sentenced to 10 years after the court found him guilty on a two-count charge of being in possession of 1,400 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, which he allegedly buried in the premises of the Nigerian Army’s 7 Division Garrison.
He was also found guilty of stealing another 1,400 rounds of ammunition which he hid at a poultry farm belonging to a policeman at a popular joint called the Trailer Park, in Maiduguri.
The court said the sentences are subject to confirmation by the highest military body as provided by the Armed Forces Act.