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    20 Soldiers Face Court Martial For Misconduct Against Boko Haram

    Four senior officers and 16 soldiers of the Nige­rian Army have been court-martialled by the Army Headquarters for profes­sional misconduct in the fight against Boko Haram members in the North East zone.
    The General Court Martial (GCM) to try the soldiers found wanting within the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command in Maiduguri, Borno State was inau­gurated on Wednesday by Brig.-Gen. Victor Ezugwu, the Gener­al Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division of the Nigerian Army.
    Ezugwu said that the action followed an order from the Nige­rian Army Headquarters in Abu­ja.
    He said: “Following the di­rectives from Army Headquar­ters that a standing GCM be set up for the Operation Lafiya Dole to try offences committed by per­sonnel within the Theatre of Op­eration, I issued a convening or­der for the GCM on August 5, 2016 and members were direct­ed to assemble today (yesterday) for formal inauguration.
    “As you are aware, discipline is the bedrock of the military pro­fession and to have a disciplined body of officers and men, there must be justice, because it is when there is justice that discipline can be achieved,’’ he said.
    According to the News Agen­cy of Nigeria (NAN), Brig.-Gen. Ezugwu said that four officers and 16 soldiers would face trial at the GCM.
    He continued: “Justice im­plies that infractions of the law must be promptly reported, in­vestigated and the accused per­sons prosecuted within a reason­able time through the laid down rules, regulations and procedures.
    “The GCM is, therefore, con­vened to try a total of four officers and 16 other ranks of the Nige­rian Army who have committed various offences within the The­atre,’’ he said.
    Ezugwu also said that the aim of the GCM was to ensure quick dispensation of justice to the ac­cused persons.
    “It must be stated at this junc­ture that one of the aims of a court martial is to achieve timely and quick dispensation of justice within the framework provided in relation to statue books.
    “Therefore, it is important that both the prosecutors and the accused persons or their coun­sels are mindful of this fact and strive to shun all forms of antics such as request for frivolous ad­journments which could lead to unnecessary delays in the trials processes.
    “It is often said in the legal parlance that justice delayed is justice denied,’’ he said.
    Ezugwu added: “For the pres­ident and members of the GCM, I enjoin you all to dispense this all important assignment in accord­ance with the appropriate extant laws.
    “And ensure that your opin­ions and decisions on all the cas­es brought before you is not in any way beclouded with bias, external pressure by extraneous factors.
    “The outcome of the GCM must, therefore, be based on care­ful appreciation of the whole facts of each and evidence placed be­fore you in the course of trial of these accused persons.
    “Finally, you are to ensure that the judgment you pass on the ac­cused persons will stand the test of appellate court, public opinion and above all that of the Almighty creator.
    “For the accused, be assured that you are all presumed inno­cent until this honourable court finds otherwise. I wish to fur­ther state that your rights to fair hearing and other fundamental human rights will be adhered to throughout this trial.’’
    The President of the GCM, Brig.-Gen. Segun Adeniyi, also addressed the court shortly after taking oath of administration with a promise to be fair and just to the accused in the conduct of the trial.
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