President Goodluck Jonathan cannot intervene in the death sentence passed on the 12 convicted soldiers who were found guilty of mutiny by the Nigerian Army General Court Martial until the verdict is either confirmed by the Army Council in the military or by the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court, if the matter is brought before them.
This was disclosed by a Presidency source who does not want his name in print, while reacting to the verdict passed by the tribunal presided by Brig-Gen Chukwuemeka Okonkwo.
“We are monitoring the situation but to answer your question is, it is too early for President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the matter. If you like, the President is the final arbiter over the matter, being the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. Until the convicted soldiers have exaulted all the options left before them, the president would not come in.”
The options before the convicted include accepting the verdict in good faith and facing the consequences of their actions, making an appeal to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) or to the Army Council, or taking their case to the Court of Appeal from where it could proceed to the Supreme Court.
Contributing to the discourse, the director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Olajide Laleye, explained that the convicted soldiers could make an appeal to the COAS or straight to the Army Council under the chairmanship of the defence minister, General Aliyu Gusau.
“First of all, the sentences are subject to the approval of the Army Council. There is procedure to be followed if they wanted to appeal the verdict, they could make an appeal to the Chief of Army Staff, who is the convener of the court martial or to the Army Council”, he said.
When asked if they have to wait before taking the case to the regular court, Court of Appeal, the Army spokesman said, “They don’t need to wait for the Army Council to do that.”
However, the immediate past GOC, 7 Division, Major General Ahmadu Mohammed is still in service and has not been retired from the Force as reported by a section of the media, Defence spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade disclosed to LEADERSHIP yesterday.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to regain the momentum it lost in Konduga last week, Boko Haram terrorists again attacked Konduga on Tuesday night. However, the terrorists were denied their objective by vigilant and gallant Nigerian Army troops.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier Olajide Laleye, “during the fight, several terrorists were killed and those fleeing Konduga with gunshot wounds are being pursued. Also, three Hilux vehicles with mounted machine and anti-aircraft guns, 1 Mowag Armoured Personnel Carrier and assorted arms and ammunition have been recovered.”
Our 12 Soldiers Must Not Die, Nigerians React
Nigerians from all walks of life yesterday appealed to the federal government to resist the temptaton of killing the 12 soldiers sentenced to death over alleged mutiny.
Many Nigerian who spoke with LEADERSHIP pleaded that the soldiers must not die considering the environment they working in.
Hon. Solomon Garba said: “President Jonathan as the commander in chief of the armed forces must intervene. These 12 soldiers must not be condemned. Justice must be tempered with mercy. In fact former GOC of the 7 Division should be retired for negligence of duty.
Source: Leadership News