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Three out of twelve soldiers appeal death sentence

By The Citizen
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Three of the 12 soldiers sentenced to death by the Military General Court Martial on September 15, 2015 have approached the Court of Appeal, seeking to set aside their sentence.

The soldiers who have appealed their sentence  are Igomu Emmanuel, Stephen Clement and Andrew Ngbede with service numbers 09NA/62/1648/LCPL, 03NA/53/1816/CPL and 09NA/64/4214/PTE respectively.

In the appeal filed in Abuja on Thursday by their lawyer, James Obla, (‎SAN‎) containing 11 grounds, whereof the trio contended that the General Court Martial erred in law by convicting them in respect of the offence of conspiracy even when it failed to consider the defense or alibi which they raised but was never investigated by the court martial.

Therefore, the appellants are asking the court to set aside the decision of the Military General Court Martial and to discharge and acquit them.

 They also prayed the court to order the payment of dues and outstanding peculiar benefits or otherwise accruing to them.

They stated in ground one of the appeal that: 'The General Court Martial erred in law and thus occasioned a miscarriage of justice when it disregarded the objection of the defence counsel raised before and at the arraignment of the appellant on the defective nature of the charge brought against the appellant'.

They noted that they were charged and convicted at large under section 114 of the Armed Forces Act as the charge did not tie the offence they allegedly committed to any of the sub-sections of section 114 of the Armed Forces Act and that the section did not define the offence of criminal conspiracy as an offence known to law.

Also, they averred that count 1 (one) under which they were charged and convicted is ambiguous, uncertain and defective as they were charged under section 114 of the Armed Forces Act and punished under section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law, among others.