Military Court Sentences Soldier to Death, Others to Jail Terms

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Nigerian troops patrol in Bama on March 25, 2015. Nigeria's military has retaken the northeastern town of Bama from Boko Haram, but signs of mass killings carried out by Boko Haram earlier this year remain. AFP PHOTO / NICHOLE SOBECKINichole Sobecki/AFP/Getty Images

The General Court Martial (GOC) sitting in Maiduguri, Borno State has sentenced a soldier serving in Operation LAFIYA DOLE to death for murder. Other soldiers also bagged jail sentences for various offences ranging from manslaughter to illegal possession of fire arms and ammunitions.

The soldier, Lance Corporal John Godwin, was charged with murder, which is punishable under Section 106 (a) of Armed Forces Acts (Cap A20), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, for killing five rescued civilians in Yamteke town of Borno State. The civilians were earlier rescued by troops of the soldier’s battalion and were taken for investigation at the time the soldier shot and killed 5 of them.

Another soldier, Sergeant Innocent Ototo, was sentenced to life imprisonment for manslaughter after torturing and killing a 13 year old boy who he said stole his phone. The incident happened at Zamanbari area of Maiduguri metropolis in Borno State.

While Lance Corporal Benjamin Osage and Private Sunday Onwe were also sentenced to 20 years imprisonment each for offences bordering on manslaughter and illegal possession of fire arms and ammunition.

Delivering the judgement, the President of the Court Martial, Brigadier General Gbenga Olusegun Adesina, said that the offences run contrary to Nigerian Army’s Rules of Engagement (ROE) and also against Nigerian Laws and Geneva Conventions which Nigeria is signatory to and which the Nigerian Army as a professional Army holds in high esteem.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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