Saturday, September 10, 2016

Another Nigerian court-martial

A Nigerian special court-martial has convicted a Major General and demoted him to Brigadier General for having permitted foreign students to received clinical training at a Nigerian military medical facility without the approval of higher authority. Excerpt from this account:
The prosecuting counsel, Ukpe Ukpe, a Lt. Col., told journalists that the convicted officer was arraigned for using the Nigerian army’s property to train students from neighbouring Benin Republic without following the necessary procedure. 
Mr. Ukpe said the judgment was a balanced one as the court was very liberal in meting out punishment. 
“If you check Section 115 of the Alarmed Forces Act, the offence falls under Section 68. Punishment that could be meted out include dismissal, imprisonment or even death; but the court went down to reduction in rank which is balanced enough.” 
The defense coun[se]l, Enokela Onyilo-Uloko, a retired Wing Cdr., said the conviction had no legal backing and was an attempt to tarnish the clean record of his client. 
Mr. Onyilo-Uloko said this was because there was no law stating that senior officers must take permission from higher authorities before allowing such training. 
He said his client only did what his predecessors also did, which was no crime, adding that his client would appeal. 
“No such law was tendered in evidence but they are saying he should have used his initiative when there is no law finalising an act. It does not amount to criminal offence that my client is being tried for. 
“So, the conviction is based on nothing and cannot stand the light of day in the eye of the law. 
“And when we go higher to the Court of Appeal, I assure you, this conviction will be thrown out,” he said.

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