|Femi Falana, SAN|
Femi Falama, a leading Nigerian attorney who has been counsel in numerous military cases, has issued a statement indicating that there were 70, not 66, soldiers sentenced to death. According to this report in The Nation:
“Twelve soldiers were convicted in September 2014 and sentenced to death by a court-martial for demanding for weapons when the General Officer Commanding, the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army, visited a military camp in the war zone while 58 others were convicted and sentenced to death in December by another court-martial for demanding for weapons to fight the insurgents.
“Therefore, the number of soldiers who were sentenced to death by the two courts-martial is 70 and not 66,” he said.
The lawyer gave the names of four convicts, who have been left out of the commuttal of the death sentence to 10 years’ imprisonment as LCP Bankole Taiwo, LCP Ayodele Olawale, LCP Isiah Osofu and Adebayo Gbenga.
Although the soldiers were charged with mutiny, Falana said the only allegation proved against them at the courts-martial was that they protested the refusal of the military authorities to provide weapons to fight insurgency. . . .
Urging the Chief of Army Staff to further review the case of the convicted soldiers, Falana said: “In demanding for weapons, the soldiers were exercising their right under Section 179 of the Armed Forces Act, which provides that a soldier could make a complaint to his commanding officer without any fear of punishment for having made a complaint’’.