Nigerian general withdraws case against Army council after restoration of rank

Photo from a previous military court martial used to illustrate the story.
Photo from a previous military court martial used to illustrate the story.

A Nigerian Army officer, Patrick Falola, who was demoted from the rank of Major General to Brigadier-General September last year, on Tuesday withdrew the case he filed over the demotion at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.

The development followed the restoration of Mr. Falola to the rank of Major General by the Army Council, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

A military court martial had last year found Mr. Falola, who is the director, 68 Military Reference Hospital, Yaba, Lagos State, guilty on a two-count charge for allegedly using the military facility for training clinical students from Espan Formation University, Cotonou, Benin Republic, without permission from higher authorities.

Mr. Falola subsequently wrote a petition against the judgement of the court martial and filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal.

However, on Tuesday, his counsel, Enokela Onyilo-Uloko, a retired Wing Commander, and legal representative of the general, announced the decision to withdraw the appeal.

“Today we are here to withdraw the appeal; we are no longer maintaining any appeal against the Nigerian Army, we are grateful to them for hearing our protest,” Mr. Onyilo-Uloko told the appellate court.

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“We wrote a petition to the Army Council, we wrote a petition to the relevant authorities, and we also filed appeal at the Court of Appeal. Of recent, the Army Council met and reversed the decision of the Court Martial and then his rank was restored.

“He is still now a Major General but they severely warned him and it ends there. Now he can go on serving the army at the rank of Major General and also retire with full benefit at the rank of Major General when it is time.

“To this effect, I am here to withdraw the appeal we have filed in respect of the case. This is because it is no longer necessary.

“We are also very grateful to the Army Council for reversing the decision of the Special Court Martial. We are particularly very grateful to the Minister of Defense, Chief of Defense Staff, Chief of Army Staff and we are also grateful to the Director of Legal Services of the Nigerian Army, who actually ensured that his team worked round the clock to make good recommendations to the Army Council concerning our case.

“We are also particularly very grateful to the following people too: the Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Army, Judge Advocate at the Court Martial. We are also grateful to the prosecutor too who also saw reason with us in our struggle and all those that have contributed one way or the other to the pleasant ending of this case. We are also very grateful to the press who have done us a good job, they stood by us throughout the whole time,” the counsel said.

The retired wing commander noted that appeals cannot be withdrawn automatically, but must follow a motion being moved.

“We are waiting to move the motion; that is why we are here for now. But the case is presumably withdrawn,” he added.

Efforts made to confirm the defense counsel’s claims were unsuccessful as the army’s spokesperson did not return calls and messages by our reporter.

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