Nigerian Army to court-martial 17 soldiers for murder, human rights abuses, others

Nigerian soldiers used to illustrate the story.
Nigerian soldiers used to illustrate the story.

The accused may be sentenced to jail or death.

A total of 17 soldiers are facing court martial at the Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, Rukuba Barrack in Plateau State over various allegations including murder, manslaughter, and human rights abuses against civilians.

The General Officer Commanding, GOC, of the cantonment, Ebiobowei Awala, stated this on Monday at the inauguration of the court martial on the erring officers.

The general court martial was exerted on erring members of Joint Task Force, JTF, (Operation restore order 1) and the Special Task-Force STF (Operation Safe Haven) keeping peace in Plateau State, whom the GOC said were duly investigated by the military police for various offenses.

Mr. Awala, a Major General, said that soldiers have guiding principles and laws regulating their profession that demand total respect for human life, adding that military laws give him the power to order the trial of the affected officials.

“It is the duty of superiors to observe, correct and instantly deal with negligence or any misconduct on the part of subordinates. When there is any breach, it is expected that appropriate disciplinary measures must be taken by commanders to forestall future occurrence. The kind and amount of punishment should be adequate enough to achieve its purpose and serve as deterrent to others,” he said.

If found wanting, the accused persons may be sentenced to life imprisonment, death by hanging or dismissed from the force

While inaugurating the court martial, the GOC urged members of the committee overseeing the court-martial to act according to laid down rules.

“I therefore enjoin all parties to this court martial to discharge their duties expeditiously and with a degree of commitment that will ensure the accused persons know their fate in good time,” he said.

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