Friday, December 19, 2014

What went on in the latest Nigerian capital case

Femi Falana, SAN
Despite a mid-trial ban on media in the courtroom, Premium Times has this detailed account of the closing arguments in the latest Nigerian Army capital conspiracy and mutiny trial. Femi Falana, lead defense counsel issued a statement after the trial:
“Apart from the fact that the Prosecution did not lead any scintilla of evidence to prove the 2-count charge of conspiracy and mutiny against any of the convicts the Court-martial did not consider the defence of the soldiers in any material particular,” said Mr. Falana.
“We submit that the oath of allegiance taken by the accused soldiers is not a license to commit suicide. It is a solemn undertaking to defend the nation based on the expectation that the Federal Government would have complied with Section 217 of the Constitution on the mandatory requirement to equip the armed forces adequately.
He said the convicted soldiers were sent on a suicide mission by army authorities, ill-equipped and poorly motivated.
“The soldiers were in the SF 111 Battalion which has 174 instead of 750 soldiers,” said Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“The soldiers in the Battalion were neither equipped nor motivated. They are young men whose ages range between 21 and 25. Most of them joined the army in 2012.
“With little or no training whatsoever they were deployed to fight the dreaded Boko Haram sect.”
Mr. Falana also accused the army hierarchy of diverting funds allocated for payment of salaries and allowances of soldiers and for purchase of arms and ammunition.
“Instead of bringing such unpatriotic officers to book the military authorities have engaged in the diversionary tactics of wasting the lives of innocent soldiers by sentencing them to death without any legal justification,” Mr. Falana said.

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