Buhari ‘may free’ soldiers on death row
Soldiers who have been sentenced to death for refusing to fight the Boko Haram insurgents may still get a lifeline, Femi Falana, a human rights activist, counsel to some of the officers, has told the BBC.
Falana said although outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan refused turned the other way on the conviction of the soldiers, Muhammadu Buhari has promised to look into matters bordering on military operations, particularly in the northeast.
“They [the soldiers] did not sign to commit suicide but to fight for their fatherland and since the government did not make weapons available, they were unable to fight,” he told the BBC's Newsday programme.
“The sentences are awaiting confirmation but we are taking steps to ensure that no soldier, no officer in Nigeria, is executed on account of the negligence of the Nigerian state in motivating the soldiers to fight and equipping them.
“So happily the incoming government of Gen Muhammadu Buhari has promised to review the entire operations in the north-east region and we are confident that the cases of the officers and the soldiers will be reviewed so that justice will be done to them.
” Earlier, he told the Associated Press news agency the courts martial were a “travesty”, as they were held in secret and evidence supplied by some of the accused indicated corrupt officers often diverted money meant for salaries and arms.
Earlier in the week, Sani Usman, army spokesman, said a total of 579 officers have been court-martialled in order to ensure professionalism in the army.