Demoted Army Officer Vows To Challenge Verdict
BEVERLY HILLS, SEPTEMBER 13, (THEWILL) – Patrick Adebayo Falola, a Major General in the Nigerian army, who was demoted to the rank of Brigadier-General by a military court martial, has vowed to appeal the verdict.
Falola, Director of 68 Army Reference Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, was last Friday demoted by a Special Court Martial which found him guilty of unlawfully admitting students for clinical training without due clearance from army headquarters but was discharged and acquitted of a second count of fraudulent misapplication of the hospital's property.
Although, his demotion is subject to the approval of the Nigerian Army Council, his lawyer, Enokela Onyilo-Uloko, a retired Wing Commander, declared that his client was unjustly convicted saying it was an attempt to tarnish Falola's outstanding records as a distinguished medical officer.
According to Onyilo-Uloko, there was no explicit law forbidding the act for which his client was convicted.
“There is no law or instruction put on the ground by the Armed Forces that a senior officer needs to take permission from a higher authority before allowing such training of Nigerian citizens,” he declared.
“No such law or instruction was tendered in evidence, but they are saying that he should have used his initiative.
“When there is no law criminalising an act, when that act is done, it does not amount to criminal offence,” Onyilo-Uloko said.
He revealed that Falola was commissioned as a Lieutenant in 1982, adding that the senior consultant ophthalmologist chaired the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (Lagos State Chapter) and during the time he represented the military without blemish.
He added that his client has commanded several other military hospitals, such as the Military Hospital, Lagos, 3 Division Hospital Jos and the Armed Forces Specialist Hospital Kano, all of which he significantly upgraded.
Story by David Oputah