Boko Haram: Nigerian Army opens trial of Brigadier-General, 21 other senior officers

FILE PHOTO: The soldiers sentenced to death for mutiny in September 2014

The Nigerian Army on Monday opened the trial of 22 of its officers, accused of mutiny in connection with the military’s ongoing fight against the insurgent group, Boko Haram.

The court-martial proceedings of the army officers, including a Brigadier-General, began in Lagos amidst tight security.

The trial began at the Officers Mess of the 9th Brigade Headquarters, Ikeja, after two postponements, with journalists barred from covering the proceedings.

Femi Falana, counsel to the one of the defendants, said the recent procurement of military weapons by the army is a testimony that the officers were ill-equipped and ill-motivated.

“The military authority has told the world that they have just taken delivery of military equipment, I feel there is no need to put them on trial, that is why we congratulated them in the successes so far recorded,” said Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

“This confirmed that as at the time they were arrested there was no weapon to fight, but now that they have weapons, they should release the boys to go and join others to fight.”

The accused officers include one Brigadier-General, J.O Komolafe, and 14 Colonels: A. Laguda, V. Ebhaleme, V.O Ita, I.B Maina, I.A Aboi, I.M Kabir, M.H Abubakar, A.A Egbejule, N.N Orok, C.A Magaji, A.O Agwu, A.J.S Gulani, O.O Obolo and A.M Adetuyi.

Others are Major M.M Idris; Captains M. Adamu, O.A Adenaike, M. Gidado, M.M Clark, S. Raymond; and one Second Lieutenant – S.O Olowa.

The soldiers, charged with mutiny over ongoing battle against Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east, were initially billed to be arraigned on January 16, but the court martial was postponed at the last minute.

Again, on January 19, the next adjourned date, it was postponed.

The trial was the first time senior Nigerian army officers would be put on trial for offences related to the military’s campaign in the North East.

Those affected by a gale of court-martialling that swept through the Army since 2014, were mostly non-commissioned personnel, many of whom were either sacked or sentenced to death.

In December, 54 soldiers were sentenced to death for mutiny. The Army said the soldiers disobeyed a direct order from their superior officers to take part in an operation. The soldiers however said they only asked for support equipment before embarking on the operation.

Twelve other soldiers had been previously sentenced to death by firing squad for shooting at a car conveying their commanding officer, Ahmed Mohammed, a Major General.

The soldiers revolted after some of their colleagues were ambushed and killed by Boko Haram extremists, an attack they blamed their commander for.

Also in December 200 soldiers were sacked after an overnight trial. They had been held in detention for three months and denied communication to their families or legal representation.

Mr. Falana, who did not attend Monday’s hearing as his client, General Komolafe’s case was not scheduled, said the trial should not even hold because the soldier’s position that they were not well equipped had been corroborated by the recent procurement of weapons.

Mr. Falana’s argument was based on the disclosure by Alex Badeh, the Chief of Defence Staff, that the challenges in fighting insurgency have been ameliorated by the recent delivery of military hardware.

Recently, following a massive deployment of many newly-acquired military assets, the Nigerian Army have recorded a series of victories against the Boko Haram insurgents, retaking territories hitherto controlled by the terrorists.


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  • Captano

    To attempt to understand military rules through usual employment law could mislead.
    Cowardice, as an offence, for example, is not an employment term in a civil workplace.
    What it means or excludes in military terms is uniquely within military terms’ definition.

    • Otile

      Whatever the military rule may be, no soldier from the South should die in the futile battle of pursuing Islamic terrorists. There is no crude oil in the North anybody should die for. This is not like the invasion of Biafra to steal oil.

  • IS.JESUS.CHRIST.A.CHRISTIAN

    jona ibb

    • Otile

      Yeah, stand and fight. Who do you want to fight and die so that you may live? Can’t you take up arms and defend yourself?

      It is always a colossal waste for any Southern soldier to lose his/her life doing battle with Islamic Boko Haram. The North brought in sharia, let them pay the price for it.

      I hate to see Jonathan waste further SE SS sources in the wild goose chase of Islamic terrorists.

      • IS.JESUS.CHRIST.A.CHRISTIAN

        SHEGE BIAFRAN CRIMINAL AND ENEMY WITHIN.

  • Umar Dendi

    Stand and Fight!
    Even Women equipped with nothing but AK’s are fighting ISIS!
    Its your Sworn Duty!!!!

    ——————
    That Doesn’t mean that pot belly-ed Generals at Ship House should escape without scrutiny though!!!

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    These soldiers fell short of expectations in many regards BUT we have had enough blood shed,JUSTICE MUST BE TAMPERED WITH MERCY.

    • Guguru

      Tawanda,

      What expectations? Does Nigeria have any expectations? Why are you talking like a market woman these days? LOL

      • Fairgame

        Cry evil APC cry! Your end is near!

  • Guguru

    These soldiers and officers were already billed to die no matter what, for the sake of Jonathan’s political future. The NE war with ghosts is the largest human sacrifice activity ever accomplished in Africa. The soldiers had no chance of surviving. They either died by the hands of Boko Haram or die by the hands of their own government. This was the Nigerian government’s plan. As long as someone was dying in the war with ghosts, all was well. Being posted to the NE to fight was essentially a sentence to death. Jonathan’s re-election bid is effectively soaked in the blood of the dog (Nigerian Military) and the baboon (Boko Haram). Nigeria has been executing its own citizens for over 40 years using the best tool ever—corruption. Corruption kills more Nigerians everyday than the war with ghosts or the war between the dog and the baboon in the NE.

    • Fairgame

      Your Boko Haram army are being defeated because the saboteurs within our military have been fished out. So cry APC cry. Only evil APC and their supporters will insult and denigrate the Nigerian state and the Nigerian military just to shore up international support to seize political power. But thanks be to God the camp of evil APC is in confusion, Saboteurs have been fished out and will be delay with to the full extent of military law and Boko Haram is being dealt a blow. If you evil APC like send your sons to join Boko Haram and ISiS like Muhammed Uwais, it Al Qaeda like Ynar Faruk Abdulmuttallab, you all will be destroyed. praise be to God. Evil APC.

      • Guguru

        Fairgame,

        Which Boko Haram army—the one you play with in your wet dream or which one are you referring to again? No one is crying. Instead we are in pre-mourning for the end of what has been billed as the most destructive and corrupt administration in the history of Nigeria. We have to mourn for this end not because of nostalgia, but because of compassion for a man called Jonathan and his warped beliefs about how Nigeria should be administered by criminals, touts, and felons, who should naturally be behind bars by now.

    • warry

      Your incorruptible was in office for 2yrs before with nothing to show for it and later assisted Abacha in his regime, when there was no ‘corruption ‘too. Once he is involved, any corruption is no corruption because he is perpetually poor,no matter the Billions he packs.

      • Jonathan

        GEJ is incompetent. He is on his way out.

  • warry

    They worked for the APC and sabotaged the president. Some of them even sent a tape to CNN aliedging corruption in the Army for refusing to fight. Not only that they abandoned weapons for Boko Haram. That is Nigeria for you,just to bring down GEJ.Now only a select group of special forces with the New equipment are used to defeat Boko Haram .God will save GEJ from the wicked.

    • BABUYANMA

      We are talking about Nigeria, and not Biafria. Jonathan is a biafrian.

  • stella

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  • Thank you Majeed; but, you need to watch out against the System that is polluting the pure; the correct; the original. That is the System using Boko Haram.