Nigeria: Army Tried 227 Personnel in 7 Months, Begins Trial of 29 Others

The Theatre Commander, Operation Hadin Kai, Maj. Gen. Christopher Musa, said the Nigerian Army has tried no fewer than 277 serving officers and soldiers for various crimes within the theatre between October 2021 and April 2022 in three separate court-martials.

The Theatre Commander made the disclosure on Thursday while inaugurating a special court-martial for the trial of another set of 29 officers and soldiers for crimes of various categories.

Among the 277 personnel already tried as stated by the Commander, 30 were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment, four were dismissed from the service, 25 others lost their seniority with reduction in rank, 20 lost their payment while 17 were placed on service reprimand, and 10 were discharged and acquitted.

Maj. Gen Musa added that 14 other cases were struck out while 107 other soldiers were recommended for summary trial.

He further said that the 29 officers and soldiers whose trial had just started were outstanding cases from the previous trials.

Gen. Musa said, "You will recall that three Court Martials were inaugurated on 9 October 2021 and the courts disposed about 227 cases. Out of which, 107 cases were recommended for summary trial while 120 cases have been concluded. Some of the accused persons were convicted and awarded various punishment in accordance with provisions of the Armed Forces Act CAP A20 LFN 04.

"Therefore, the court I am about to inaugurate today is to try the leftover cases by the dissolved courts and some recent established cases involving personnel for professional misconduct.

"The Military as an institution is known for maintenance of discipline while discharging our constitutional duties. The operational efficacy of troops is guaranteed when the value of discipline is upheld. This informed the decision to inaugurate this Special Court Martial under my command to continue with the leftover cases in the Theatre in the spirit of justice delayed is justice denied.

"The inauguration of this court, therefore, is nothing but a normal command responsibility placed on me by Section 131 (2) (d) of the Armed Forces Act CAP A20 LFN 2004. Though the court is special but it does not have any special interest to serve rather than the maintenance of justice, discipline and regimentation."

The Theatre Commander added that the court would be guided by the principles of natural justice, equity and fairness throughout the conduct of its proceedings.

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