Nigerian military commutes death penalty of 66 soldiers to jail terms

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

The death sentences by firing squad passed on 66 soldiers in January and March 2015 by separate General Court Martials have been commuted to 10 years imprisonment each, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Sani Usman, has said.

The Army had in late 2014 arraigned 71 soldiers on several count charges that included criminal conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mutiny, mutiny, attempt to commit an offence (murder), disobedience to particular orders, insubordinate behaviour and false accusation, among others.

They were tried, discharged on some charges but found guilty and convicted on other charges, which included mutiny.

Of the 71, 66 were found guilty on some of the charges and sentenced to death, while five were discharged and acquitted and one was given 28-day imprisonment with hard labour.

Mr. Usman, a colonel said following a series of petitions, the Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai, a Lieutenant General, ordered a legal review of the cases.

“The directive was carried out to examine the merit of each case,” the Army spokesperson said in a statement Saturday.

“It was on the basis of the review and recommendations that the Chief of Army Staff commuted the death sentences of the 66 soldiers to 10-year jail term.

“The sentences are to run concurrently.”

Mr. Usman said the cases of other soldiers tried and convicted by other court martials were being reviewed and would be made public once appropriate reviews were completed.

Background

The Nigerian military had on October 2, 2014, at the Defence Headquarters Garrison inaugurated a nine-man General Court-Martial to try about a hundred personnel.

The personnel were charged for different offences ranging from mutiny, assault and misconduct to tampering with military property.

Of the lot, 66 were accused of committing mutiny, a crime punishable under the military law by death sentence.

The charge sheet said the soldiers, attached to the 7 Division in Maiduguri, conspired to commit mutiny against the authorities of the 7 Division on August 4, at the Mulai Primary School camp, opposite AIT Maiduguri, Borno State.

It also said the soldiers refused to join 111 Special Forces battalion troops led by E. A. Aladeniyi, a colonel, to the Maimalari Barracks for an operation.

“In that you at the Mulai Primary School Camp opposite AIT Maiduguri on or about 4 August 14, refused to join 111 SF Bn troops led by Col EA Aladeniyi (N/9695) to Maimalari Barracks in connection with an operation,” the charge sheet read.

Those charges came two weeks after another military court sentenced 12 soldiers to death for shooting at a vehicle conveying their commander in Maiduguri.

Five other soldiers were discharged and acquitted while one was sentenced to 28 years jail term with hard labour.

The soldiers were also accused of insurrection and firing at the utility vehicle of their general officer commanding, GOC of the same 7 Division, Ahmadu Mohammed.

Many Nigerians condemned the death sentences at the time and demanded a review.

Below is a list of some of the soldiers who faced mutiny and other charges.

1. Cpl Andrew Ogolekwu

2. Cpl Saturday Efa

3. LCpl Henry Shuaibu

4. LCpl James Maifada

5. LCpl Ndubuisi Sabestine

6. LCpl Dauda Dalhatu

7. LCpl Kasega Aoso

8. LCpl Mallam Jacob

9. LCpl Nwonu Friday

10. LCpl Joshua Friday

11. LCpl Anthony Simeon

12. Pte Olayode Oluwasegun

13. Pte Tijjani Jimoh

14. Pte Kabiru Abubakar

15. Pte Mamuda Sywasan

16. Pte James Emmanuel

17. Pte Mukaila Musa

18. Pte Magaji Ahmadu

19. Pte Amao Bukola

20. Pte Wuyep John

21. Pte Oti Kelvin

22. Pte Ameh Mathew

23. Pte Olaitan Joseph

24. Pte Kulukulu Endurance

25. Pte Usman Isaac

26. Pte Ocheje Williams

27. Pte Adila Dangana

28. Pte Sudan Hannania

29. Pte Sunday Godwin

30. Pte Datti Hassan

31. Pte Abubakar Garba

32. Pte Joseph Dauda

33. Pte Chiemela Azubuike

34. Pte Abubakar Mohammed

35. Pte Anagu Mark

36. Pte Danbaba Francis

37. Pte Oton Asuabiat

38. Pte Nwachukwu Udo

39. Pte Ibrahim Saliu

40. Pte Abafe Sylvester

41. Pte Eze Isaac

42. Pte Abubakar Mohammed

43. Pte Samuel Michael

44. Pte Ishaya Musa

45. Pte Ogai Douglas

46. Pte Atim Peter

47. Pte Hemas Okpe

48. Pte Ahunaya Temple

49. Pte Eyaknse Uwah

50. Pte Ilesanmi S.

51. Pte Solomon Ishaku

52. Pte Nasiru Zubairu

53. Pte Audu Daniel

54. Pte Buaz Lucky

55. Pte Muhammed Abubakar

56. Pte Anas Awalu

57. Pte Babangida Jamilu

58. Pte Hashimu Ibrahim

59. Pte Mohammed Suleiman

60. Pte Shehu Sa’adu


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