7 Div Court Martial Sentences 1 Soldier to Dead, 5 Others to Jail, 1 Soldier Demoted

By Sadiq Abubakar Maiduguri

7 Division General Court Martial, Operation Lafiya Dole Maimalari Cantonment Maiduguri has sentenced a soldier to dead by firing squad.

The Court Martial also sentenced 5 other soldiers to various jail term ranging from 1-3 years imprisonment and one soldier was demoted from the rank of Last Corporal to Private

The President of the 7 Division General Court Martial, Brigadier General Arkpo Arikpo Ekubi Tuesday while passing judgements on the alleged crimes committed by the soldiers after listening to all the findings and summations of the Prosecution Counsel which was led by Captain Yunusa Mohammed Bima and defences of the offences led by the Defence Counsels, Barrister Adamu Sani Badagubi Esq and Barrister Adetutu Babatunde Esq respectively, announced death sentence on Trooper, Private Azunna Mmadu-Abuchi of 202 BN Bama to death by firing squad for killing an officer, Lt. Baakaka Shehu Ngorgi of 202 Batallion Bama

Delivering his judgement at the floor of the court martial , the President of the Court, Brig. -Gen. Arikpo Ekubi, said the prosecutor has proved his case beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused Maliciously and intentionally shot his rifle 9 times on his superior officer on the chest, neck and arms killing Lt. B. S. Ngorgi, who was the Adjutant of 202 Battalion, Bama.

General Ekubi said, "You intentionally opened fire and empty your magazine of nine rounds of ammunition on the deceased officer, Lt. B.S Ngorgi, who was the Adjutant of 202 Battalion, Bama, which led to his instant death.

“You betrayed the trust and confidence reposed on you by the Nigerian Army to ensure dignity and respect for human life. Your action is therefore viewed with displeasure and as affront to efforts of the present leadership of the Nigerian Army which emphasised the protection of human rights and professionalism in the discharge of its constitutional roles.

While condemning your action of unlawfully killing the deceased officer in a gruesome manner, this court considers the plea in mitigation punishment by your counsel, the General Court Martial takes cognisance of all your counsel has said and the fact that you are involved in the Theatre of Operation.

“However, the gravity of the crime that you have committed against the innocent officer which by application is a crime against humanity and an attempt to drag the good name of Nigerian Army into mud must be sanctioned appropriately.

“The general court martial for the offence of murder as provided by section 106 of the Armed Forces Act is death. This sentence is to be carried out by firing squad,” Ekubi said.

Ekubi also convicted four soldiers for manslaughter for their involvement in torturing a civilian, one Peter Apogu to death over a missing car battery.

The court martial Preside t said based on their nature of involvement in the act, Sgt. Sani Ishaya who is the leader of the team was sentenced to four years in prison, Lance Cpl. Fabiyi Bidemi is to serve two years while Pte. Adamu Abdulrashid and Pte. Musa Bala are to serve one year each.

The court further sentenced one Pte Mohammed Kuru to three years in prison for accidental discharge at a civilian wedding ceremony that killed a 12 year-old-boy.

One Lance Cpl. Aja Emmanuel was demoted to private for assaulting a civilian causing him “grievous bodily harm.

General Ekubi however noted however that all the sentences are subjected to confirmation by the appropriate superior authority as provided under Section 151 Sub Section 1b and Section 152 Subsection 1b of the Armed Forces Act.

In her remarks, the Borno Coordinator of National Human Rights Commission, Barrister Jummai Mshelia commended the Nigerian Army for its professionalism and show of respect for human rights as well as show of patriotism and recognition of the observance of Human Rights while thanking the Nigerian Army and leaders for their efforts and support.