By Yakubu Uba
Maiduguri, June 23, 2022 The Nigerian Army has inaugurated a Special Court Martial to try cases of alleged professional misconduct by personnel in the North-East theatre of operation.
Maj.-Gen. Christopher Musa, Theatre Commander, North East Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), stated this at the inauguration of the court on Thursday at the Command and Control Centre, Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri.
He said the special court headed by Brig.-Gen. Hamza Gambo, would try leftover cases by some dissolved courts and fresh cases recorded recently in the theatre.
“Recalled that three Court Martials were inaugurated on Oct. 9, 2021, and the courts treated about 227 cases.
“A total of 107 of the cases had been recommended for summary trials while 120 others concluded.
“Some of the accused persons had been convicted and awarded various punishments 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,” he said.
According to him, the military as an institution is known for maintaining discipline while discharging its constitutional duties, adding that the operational efficacy of the troops was guaranteed when the value of discipline upheld.
This, he said, informed the decision to inaugurate the Special Court Martial under his command to continue with the leftover cases in the Theatre in the spirit of justice and fairness.
The Theater Commander said the inauguration of the court was a normal command responsibility online with provision of 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.
“Therefore, the Court will be guided by the principle of natural justice, equity and fairness throughout the conduct of its proceedings,” he said.
The Theatre Commander assured the accused persons of justice and fairness, adding that they have nothing to fear as the court would carry out its proceedings in accordance with the provisions of extant rules.
While assuring the accused persons and prosecution of a level playing field, Musa tasked the President, members of the court and other stakeholders to remember thier oaths while discharging their duties.
Statistics of the Theatre Command showed that the three Courts treated 227 cases between October 2021 and April 2022.
The fact-sheet indicated that 107 personnel had been recommended for trial, 30 sentenced for imprisonment, 25 for reduction in rank/loss of seniority, and 20 others for loss of pay.
Seventeen personnel for severe reprimand, four for dismissal, 10 discharged and acquitted while the courts struck out charges against 10 others.