Monday, September 14, 2015

What about the pending capital cases in Nigeria?

Things are allegedly on a positive trend line in Nigerian military discipline, but is all well? Here's a National Mirror editorial that suggests more needs to be done (such as taking a hard look at the spate of military death row cases):
. . . [T]he Nigerian Army said not long ago that it had reinstated back into its fold 3,032 convicted soldiers after a review of 5,000 cases of soldiers dismissed over offenses committed in the course of fighting Boko Haram. 
President Muhammadu Buhari had also approved the award of Nigerian Army Medals (NAM) to the new CDS, General G.A Olonisakin; the CoAS, Lieutenant General T.Y. Buratai; and the Director of Military Intelligence (DMI), Brigadier General ASH Sa’ad, according to a recent report credited to the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman. These and other proactive measures taken so far to motivate Nigerian soldiers and enable them go all out and subdue insurgency in the country are commendable. There are, however, some worrisome reservations. Usman said, for instance, that not all the dismissed soldiers were granted pardon; and that those with criminal cases had their sentences upheld. A recent report also quoted human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana as saying despite the reinstatement of the 3,032 soldiers, various courts-martial where some officers and men were being tried were still in place. 
Our thinking, therefore, is that the military hierarchy is yet to complete the job of motivating its officers and men it started. Except for extreme cases of sabotage and insubordination, the military should be gracious enough to further review the criminal cases Usman made reference to, especially on consideration of the fact that a lot of the infractions or unprofessional charges for which the soldiers were docked revolved around their demand for the wherewithal to confront Boko Haram insurgents. The 70 soldiers Falana claimed were still on the death row appear rather too many. The government and the military should not grandstand to the point of cancelling out the good works they have already started by taking steps that would demoralise the nation’s soldiers and motivate the enemy.

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