Boko Haram: Falana charges Nigerian military to free accused soldiers, respect human rights

Boko Haram
Boko Haram

The Nigerian military has the moral obligation to discontinue the trial of some soldiers for mutiny and set those already convicted free, a lawyer has said.

Femi Falana, counsel to some of the accused soldiers, said the soldiers’ actions have been justified as the military has started winning the war against the Boko Haram insurgents only after acquiring the necessary weaponry.

“In view of the disclosure by the Federal Government that it has just acquired adequate equipment for the armed forces and invited foreign instructors to train the soldiers on the use of the equipment,” Mr. Falana said,  “the officers and soldiers who had consistently demanded for weapons to fight the war have been vindicated.”

PREMIUM TIMES reported how 70 soldiers were sentenced to death for mutiny last year and several others including senior ranking officers are being prosecuted for various allegations, including disobedience to military directives, absconding from battle, etc. Many of the accused soldiers have argued that they were not provided with appropriate equipment to fight the insurgents.

The military recently began a major offensive against the insurgents leading to the recovery of several territories initially being occupied by the insurgents .

Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, in his statement on Sunday, also questioned the military’s alleged violations of the rights of the accused soldiers.

“… the army authorities have neither allowed the convicts any access to their family members and lawyers nor compiled and transmitted the record of proceedings of the courts-martial to the Chief of Army Staff for the purpose of confirming or varying the conviction and death sentences imposed on the soldiers,” he said.

Read the lawyer’s full statement below

With the support of the multinational force drawn from neighboring countries, the Nigerian armed forces have carried out successful operations against the satanic Boko Haram sect in the last couple of weeks. In the process, the terrorists have been dislodged from many of the towns and villages in the north east region illegally seized and occupied by them since last year. Although the war on terror has not been fully won, the armed forces and the federal government deserve commendation for the success recorded so far in the task of restoring the territorial integrity of the country. With the recent acquisition of vital weapons for the armed forces by the Federal Government it is undoubtedly clear that the troops have been mobilized and motivated to discharge the constitutional duty of defending Nigeria from the forces of internal insurrection and external aggression.

In view of the disclosure by the Federal Government that it has just acquired adequate equipment for the armed forces and invited foreign instructors to train the soldiers on the use of the equipment, the officers and soldiers who had consistently demanded for weapons to fight the war  have been vindicated. Therefore, the military authorities ought to discontinue the ongoing trial of officers and soldiers and set free the 70 soldiers who were convicted and sentenced to death for mutiny by two courts-martial which sat in Abuja last year. Since the alleged offence of mutiny arose from the legitimate demand of the convicted soldiers for adequate weapons to fight the rag tag army of the Boko Haram sect, the basis of their conviction and sentence can no longer be justified.In  the alternative, the army authorities should conclude the case of the convicted soldiers without ant further delay.

It would be recalled that 12 of the soldiers were convicted in September while the 58 others were convicted in December last year. Since then, the army authorities have neither allowed the convicts any access to their family members and lawyers nor compiled and transmitted the record of proceedings of the courts-martial to the Chief of Army Staff for the purpose of confirming or varying the conviction and death sentences imposed on the soldiers. This has delayed the promulgation of the findings and denied the convicts the opportunity to challenge the verdicts of the courts-martial at the Court of Appeal. As if that is not enough, the army authorities have detained the convicts incommunicado in underground cells in a military guardroom in Apapa, in  Lagos State instead of committing them to prison as required by the Armed Forces Act.

In the light of the foregoing, we call on the Chief of Army Staff as the confirming authority to confirm or vary the conviction and sentences passed on the soldiers by the courts-martial. Owing to the inexplicable delay in the confirmation or variation of the conviction and sentences the soldiers involved have not been able to file their appeal at the Court of Appeal in line with section 183 of the Armed Forces Act (Cap 20), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 which stipulates that :”Subject to the provisions of this Part, an appeal shall lie from decisions of a court-martial to the Court of Appeal with the leave of the Court of Appeal: Provided that, an appeal as aforesaid shall lie as of right without the leave of the Court of Appeal from any decision of a court-martial involving sentence of death.”

Femi Falana SAN.


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  • BlackieUmukoro

    This is an APC statement signed on their behalf by falana. With the way falana is fooling himself, he may soon be stripped of his SAN as he is a huge embarassment to the bench

  • ENEMY #ONE

    Falana should stop meddling with the military legal system. If his
    wish is granted it will go a long way in destroying esprit de corps in
    the military and leave the military ineffective. He should be more
    concerned about who is behind the Boko Haram insurgency.
    http://honourablesaka.blogspot

    All through this week, the owners of this site have blocked and
    prevented me from posting a comment here. I appears that they are tuned
    to one side of the issue and any opposing opinion is unacceptable.
    Somebody ought to tell these waifs that the real world operates
    differently.
    -COLONEL MARIAMA(RTD)

  • samson john

    AN NYC ANNOUNCEMENT.

    GMB the man of many firsts!

    First Nigerian leader to introduce kidnapping in Nigeria, by sending his kidnappers to kidnap Alhaji Umaru Dikko in faraway London.

    First Nigerian leader to order the execution of a woman.

    First Nigerian leader to pass retroactive laws and execute people, not based on the rule of law, but on spontaneous draconian laws which he invented himself.

    First Nigerian leader to introduce jail sentences lasting hundreds of years for mostly Southern Nigerians, but just a few years jail terms for Northern Nigerians.

    First Nigerian leader who cut off diplomatic ties with England.

    First Nigerian leader to cancel the Lagos metro line and deny Lagos State of having a metro line.

    First Nigerian leader who built no infrastructure for Nigeria as a military dictator.

    First Nigerian leader who deported most other Africans living in Nigeria.

    First Nigerian leader who clamped down on most fundamental human rights of nearly every Nigerian.

    First Nigerian leader who issued import licenses to his associates for everything, and ruined the Nigerian economy.

    First Nigerian leader who took Nigeria to pre-historic times and introduced trade by barter.

    First Nigerian leader who jailed anybody whom he perceived that criticized him, from journalists, artists, doctors, labour unionists to students.

    First Nigerian leader whose troops publicly humiliated and flogged many Nigerians in public. Nigerians please ask your parents about the real Buhari, as some were either publicly humiliated, flogged, jailed, tortured or even executed by Buhari.

    First Nigerian leader who did not accept defeat at the polls and incited his supporters, who killed thousands of innocent Nigerians. This is now a matter before the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Buhari may be the first Nigerian leader to join Charles Taylor and Laurent Gbagbo at the ICC in the Haque.

    First Nigerian leader who said publicly that he is for the total implementation of Sharia all over Nigeria, despite the over 85 million Christians living in Nigeria and this being against the constitution of Nigeria.

    First Nigerian leader who publicly said, that if he loses this February 14th elections, “the Baboons and Dogs will be soaked in blood”, calling for even more violence and bloodshed.

    First and only Nigerian leader whom Boko Haram appointed to be their trusted mediator, meaning, that he must know them and they must know him, for this trust to exist between themselves.

    First Nigerian leader who has presented no manifesto to the electorate, only the empty slogan of change, yet he seeks votes.

    First Nigerian leader who said he will fight corruption and insecurity, but has never told Nigerians how he will do it.

    First Nigerian leader who forged his school certificate and has refused to clarify the truth about his primary and secondary school education.

    First Nigerian leader who brought in two foreign consultants, AKPD and Burson Marsteller, to run his entire media campaign.

    First Nigerian leader who preaches Anti corruption, but is being sponsored and surrounded by Saint Tinubu, Saint Amaechi, Saint Rochas and foreign Arab backers.

    First Nigerian who shot his way to power, misruled Nigeria, was kicked out, yet, he has lost the elections three times and will lose this time again, because, he is serially unelectable.

    First Nigerian leader still seeking power at the good old age of 72, when his age mates are respectable retired grandfathers.

    First Nigerian leader exposing his wife and daughters as online models, to gain online twitter hits.

    First Nigerian leader who wept and publicly said that he will not seek office again in 2011, yet, he can never keep to his promise nor can he accept defeat.

    First Nigerian leader who seems to have no certificate and claims he had an F9 in Mathematics, yet, he is shameless to still want to contest an election to lead Nigeria in the 21st century.

  • ALBERTDOZIE@GMAIL.COM

    My question is, why are most APC sympathizers so pro Boko Haram and their sympathizers? Why would Falana be talking about human rights for the Bokos when these terrorists kill, maim, behead and burn Nigerians? Is APC in bed with the Bokos? Now, we are beginning to know the lesser evil between Buhari (Tinibu) and Jonathan. Please let PDP be there till APC can purge themselves off crooks and ex-PDP rejects and also make their party a circular one and not one dominated by one religious sect..