Nigeria Army mitigates death sentences on 66 soldiers to imprisonment
Fate smiled on 66 soldiers sentenced to death by firing squad in January and March this year by separate General Court Martials and the Nigerian Army authority has mitigated their sentences to 10 years imprisonment.
The soldiers will each now serve 10 years in prison and the sentence is to run concurrently, according to the Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman.
The army spokesman said the decision followed an order by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, to examine the merit of each case.
The soldiers were part of seventy-one soldiers arraigned on several count charges including criminal conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mutiny, insubordinate behaviour and false accusation.
They were tried and discharged on some charges but found guilty and convicted on other charges including mutiny.
Five others were discharged and acquitted while one was sentenced to 28 days in prison with hard labour.
The case of the other soldiers are still being reviewed and the Army says it will be made public once the appropriate reviews are completed.
About 71 soldiers were arraigned on several on several count charges that include Criminal Conspiracy, Conspiracy to commit mutiny, Mutiny, Attempt to Commit an Offence (Murder), Disobedience to Particular Orders, Insubordinate Behaviour and False Accusation, amongst others.
In the joint trial that followed, some were discharged on some charges but found guilty and convicted on other charges which included mutiny. Out of the number, 66 were found guilty on some of the count charges and sentenced to death, while 5 were discharged and acquitted and 1 was given 28 days Imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL).
However, following series of petitions, the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, ordered a legal review of the cases. The directive was carried out to examine the merit of each case. 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 years jail term. The sentences are to run concurrently.
The cases of other soldiers are being reviewed and will be made public once the appropriate reviews are completed.