TWO Nigerian Army majors and one captain have been suspended from duty for dereliction of duty after a general court martial (GCM) found them guilty of negligence in the fight against terrorist sect Boko Haram.
Over the law two years, the army has had to establish court martials to try soldiers for a variety of offences including cowardice, dereliction of duty, conniving with the enemy and insubordination. As part of the ongoing campaign to restore discipline and professionalism within the army, three officers were arraigned before a GCM and found guilty when the verdict was announced yesterday.
One of the suspended officers, Major Usman Inya, was found guilty of abandoning his blocking position against Boko Haram terrorists in Tukumbere village near Bits in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State. He was sentenced to 15 months forfeiture of his seniority of the rank of major for the offence.
For a similar offence, Major Muhammad Bello was sentenced to two months forfeiture of his seniority of the rank of major. Also, Captain Christopher Leche was sentenced to two years forfeiture of seniority on the rank of captain for the same offence.
In addition, the GCM also sentenced an army private, Macdonald Chukwu, to 18 months imprisonment for unlawful possession of 89 ammunition while on a pass. GCM president Brigadier Olusegun Adeniyi, gave the verdict at a sitting in Maiduguri yesterday, adding that the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt that Private Chukwu committed the offence, contrary to the Armed Forces Act.
Brigadier Adeniyi said: “We looked at both punishment provided by both Section 57 sub-section one of the Armed Forces Cap Laws as well as Section 119 of the Armed Forces Act Laws. The court, hereby, sentences you to 18 months imprisonment subject to confirmation by the confirming authority as provided for by Section 141 (2) of the Armed Forces Cap Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He added that the court considered the need to maintain discipline in the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre with the ongoing war against terrorism. During the trial, the prosecutor had told the court that Private Chukwu was arrested in May at a motor park, seeking to travel out of the state with the ammunition concealed in his bag.