The Nigerian Army has transferred a Lance Corporal, Idakpini Martins, from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja to Sokoto State to face a court-martial.
Mr Martins in a published video criticised the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai’s handling of the Boko Haram crisis.
The soldier’s lawyer, Tope Akinyode, told PREMIUM TIMES about the transfer on Saturday.
A senior army officer who asked not to be named also confirmed the transfer saying the army did so because Mr Martins committed his ‘offence in Sokoto’.
The source said the soldier will likely face the court-martial on Monday.
The lance corporal was apprehended on June 20 following the video he released online condemning Mr Buratai and President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged failure to provide adequate resources to soldiers combating Boko Haram.
He was detained in Abuja and denied legal representation for a month until Mr Akinyode, a rights lawyer, approached a Federal High Court, Abuja to file a rights violation lawsuit.
On July 22, Justice A. I. Chikere granted Mr Martins access to his lawyer and relative. He said the Nigerian Army’s action is against the fundamental human rights of citizens.
Despite the court order, this newspaper reported that the army on several occasions refused to obey, hence, denying Mr Martins the right to see his lawyer and families.
On Saturday, Mr Akinyode told our correspondent that Mr Martins would be tried before a court-martial in Sokoto on Monday.
He alleged that the army “is forcing a lawyer from within the military on Lance Corporal Martins in a desperate attempt to jeopardize the case and wrongly convict the detained soldier.”
“Lance Corporal Martins has been brutalized and subjected to a great deal of dehumanizing treatment. He was also denied food and has therefore developed Ulcer,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
He said efforts are ongoing to resist the move by the army.
Although soldiers considered to have violated army rules can be subjected to a court-martial, they have the right to choose their own lawyers including from outside the army.
PREMIUM TIMES contacted the Nigerian Army spokesperson, Sagir Musa, on Saturday and Sunday to explain the stance of the army.
Mr Musa declined to comment on the matter.
The Boko Haram insurgency has continued, largely in North-east Nigeria, since 2009.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced due to the insurgency.
Many Nigerian soldiers including the army hierarchy have blamed insufficient fighting equipment as one of the reasons the terrorists have not been defeated.
President Buhari has also acknowledged the lack of adequate weapons to defeat the terrorists and recently said his government was getting new weapons from Jordan, China and the U.S.
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