EXCLUSIVE: 54 Nigerian soldiers sentenced to death for mutiny starve as army deprives them food, care

While holidaying Nigerians make merry with drinks and food for Christmas, 54 Nigerian soldiers sentenced to death for refusing to fight Boko Haram, have endured days without food since being transferred from Abuja, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report.

The soldiers, moved from Abuja to a holding cell in Lagos last Sunday, are held under conditions military sources have described as terrible and inhumane.

They are awaiting confirmation of their death sentences by the military council, and thereafter, an appeal that may bring them freedom or the death stake.

Our military sources said the convicted soldiers, all shackled by their legs since departing Abuja on Sunday, are crammed in two cells without beds or food or any form of care.

“The first cell has 30 soldiers. The second is underground and has 24 soldiers,” our sources said. “There are no beds, no mattresses. The soldiers have not been fed since Sunday.”

PREMIUM TIMES can confirm that the soldiers were held without food from Sunday when they arrived Lagos, till Wednesday night.

It is not clear whether the situation has changed since Wednesday.

The convicted soldiers, involved in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists in Northeast Nigeria, were attached to the 7 Division, Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, Borno State.

A military court sitting in Abuja condemned them to death on December 17 after finding the soldiers guilty of mutiny against the authorities.

The prosecutor, J.E. Nwosu, an army Captain, said the accused soldiers had on August 4, in Maiduguri, refused to join the 111 Special Forces Battalion troops, commanded by Timothy Opurum, a Lieutenant Colonel, for an operation against extremist group, Boko Haram.

Mr. Nwosu said the operation was meant to recapture Delwa, Bulabulin and Damboa in Borno State from the terrorists.
All the accused soldiers pleaded not guilty to the charges, and argued that they were prepared to fight but had insufficient equipment.

One of the condemned soldiers, Fahat Fahat, recently took to Facebook where he lamented the death sentences he and 53 colleagues were given.

“I am a soldier and I am sentenced to death by the Nigerian Army, (be)cause we did not go to fight Boko Haram without equipment. We ask(ed) for weapon instead (they) gave (us) death sentence,” he wrote.

The soldiers are the second batch of Nigerian troops condemned to death by military courts for mutiny.

Many Nigerians have condemned their sentencing, arguing that the soldiers are being made scapegoats for the corruption that led to the diversion of funds allocated for military supplies and equipment.

Femi Falana, who is the attorney for the convicted soldiers, Femi Falana, described the sentence as “genocidal.”
Mr. Falana confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the soldiers are currently held in very “dehumanising conditions”
He said the decision of the military authorities to keep the soldiers in a holding cell in the first instance is illegal. He said since a court has given judgement, the soldiers should have been taken to a prison, not a military cell.
Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, also said convicted soldiers held in Jos, Plateau State, face even worse conditions than those incarcerated in Lagos. The soldiers in Jos are held in underground cells, he said.

On Friday, the military warned activists and politicians from attempting to ridicule its justice system, saying recent comments about the trial and other happenings within the force in the fight against Boko Haram, could be inciting.

In a statement, defence spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, however said “it is obvious that most of the comments and sensational stories in the media have been oblivious of the fact that the processes are still ongoing and yet to be concluded”.

Our sources said the 54 convicted soldiers are held under very deplorable conditions ahead of the confirmation of the sentencing, an appeal or their execution. They said the soldiers barely manage to survive.

However, Mr. Olukolade, a Major General, told PREMIUM TIMES the Nigerian military will not violate rights of its detainees. He said claims that they are being maltreated are “lies”.

“The military is not involved in that kind of scenario being painted. All the lies are aimed at blackmailing the justice process. The rights of any detainee will not be violated but the military will not yield to blackmail. The law is following its due cause,” Mr. Olukolade said.

Editor’s Note: This report has been updated to reflect comments by the lawyer representing the convicted soldiers.


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  • amazing2012

    May you also be a victim, then you will know if their condition is Ok. You don’t need to defend army, we all know how wicked you are.
    The charges are refusal to RECAPTURE places taken by Boko boys. But the question to ask why do you in the first place allow them to kill and sack the people ? Then do you send them without adequate equipment ? Those incharge should be charge for conspiracy against Nigeria.

  • 100%Black

    premium times and sahara reporters- supporters of boko haram. Nigeria will defeat u animals

    • Tunsj

      Please I want you to prove that Premium Times and Sahara Reporters are supporters of boko haram.

      • 100%Black

        I want YOU to prove they are NOT…

  • Beerony

    Editor Premium Times,

    The Nigerian Army is in some dilemmatic quagmire because to overlook mutiny this once
    is to overlook it for all times; but at same time, there’s a chilling effect in tying up nearly
    1,000 soldiers for mass killings, if their original complaints were not covered under existing
    military law, to render it a felony that these soldiers sought to redress those grievances via
    disobedient protests latterly adjudged by Nigeria’s military tribunals as mutinous conduct.

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    One cannot trust this report till otherwise confirmed however the fundamental human rights of those convicted soldiers MUST be upheld. The Nigerian Army and government MUST obey international treaties on human rights which Nigeria is signatory to.
    I still maintain my firm and unshakable call that justice should be tampered with mercy in this case. It is true that the soldiers may have disobeyed lawful orders and displayed cowardice in the face of the enemy but at the same time there have been cases where these soldiers have been sent into battle ill-equipped.

  • Okiemute

    Methinks Premium Times and all their kurukere or if you like, senseless informants should be made to understand the meaning of the word ‘mutiny’. Perhaps this lack of understanding of the real and technical meaning of the word is the problem with Premium Times and others who have introduced baseless and ridiculous sentiments into this otherwise straightforward verdict.

    The rules for protesting or if you like acceptable procedures for expressing dissent are all made available to Soldiers at commissioning….including the option to dissert if need be. Why then are people expressing such embarrassing whimsical prejudices? It goes to show that we are far from being a country talk less of a united country.

    The Northern soldiers who refused to fight deserve to die (if that is what the rules say)… and the earlier the better so that it serves as a deterrent to others. The action of the Soldiers amounts to a Coup. Shots were even fired at a Major General…which means there was ‘action’ besides the ‘coup plot’. What if that Senior officer died? Have the sympathizers thought of that? Nonsense!

    However, the military should give them very small food, cigarettes or ‘kain kain’ or some gbana to cool their heads while awaiting firing squad. The earlier they are executed the safer for all patriotic Nigerians bcos so many have died bcos of the actions and inaction of these APC soldiers.

    ****Those who need food are those in camps who have been orphaned or widowed by the actions of the soldiers***

    • Sword of Damocles

      you long diatribe is missing two words: Equal Justice. So that while you have assigned the task of ascertaining the meaning of “Mutiny”, you have been assigned the task of finding out the true meaning of equal justice(which just happens to be the foundation of a STABLE society). And you are spouting RUBBISH about shooting those men, but is yet to MUTTER a word about also shooting the superior officers who are sabotaging the war effort by their conduct tells me you may have an intimate, illicit knowledge of the essence of hypocrisy. In closing let me sum your position, blood thirty to kill 70 young Nigerians who found themselves in an unfortunate situation, but you utter not a WORD of the MEN who put them in that precise situation, What a farce!

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      Have you ever been fired at in the course of your cowardly life? Do you know what it takes for one to even put his or her life in harms way in defence of one’s country ? You are a heartless animal so the least I can do is ask Amadioha to afflict you with full blown insanity !!

      • Guguru

        Tawanda,

        There you are again telling us all the deep inadequacies you feel inside. Why don’t you seek help instead of trying to impose the troubles inside of your mind on Okiemute?

  • TRUTH MASTER

    I can’t understand. Where is the justice in sending soldiers to battle unequipped, only to turn around and sentence them to death? Where indeed is the justice? I really don’t understand.

    • Okiemute

      What is your definition of unekwipped? Were they not given guns and bullets plus including arrmoured tanks? …and the Islamist Terrorists were just capturing the armoured tanks while Vigilantes and hunters ekkwipped with bows and arrows were capturing and killing hundereds of the terrorists. Did u not read that from ths same PremiumTimes?

      The Northern Soldiers were just running away in line with instruction from their party leader. Don/t ask me which party bcos every dog and baboon on the street should know.

      • Sword of Damocles

        “The Northern Soldiers were just running away in line with instruction from their party leader. Don/t ask me which party bcos every dog and baboon on the street should know”

        The world can now see how you with your “big brain” has brought sectional bias into an area where ethnic jingoism is TABOO: The Nigerian Military. You have forgotten our history with tribalism in the military in the 60’s. Oh! some citizens are just so reckless & brainless.

      • TRUTH MASTER

        Unfortunately for you, there are many southern troops among those condemned. So were they also asked to run by their ‘party leader’? The problem with your vision of the world is that it is painfully narrow, divisionist and archaic. Yet, in your ignorance, you run to a public forum to comment. What a pity!

      • salako

        you are absolutely not saying the truth.

  • ICC Hague

    This time around foot soldiers will not help PDP rigging machine, because they are really tasting the bitterness of PDP government.

  • tsunami1earthquake

    Quintessential behavior of Nigerians on display here! People on death row might as well starve to death; death is death, no matter how it comes, as per the Nigerian mentality!

  • Adam Noma

    I pity them for the law of Karma. They did not mutiny when where giving order to unleash terror on thier fellow citizens in Baga for an offence the Bagas don’t know. When they were alleged of been ordered into various extra judicials. When they were alleged to be ordered in killing Appo innocents. Election rigging. Etc etc. But now they were alleged to commit suicide and it is the time for mutiny. Why?