25 SOLDIERS, ONE OFFICER FACE COURT MARTIAL IN ENUGU

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25 soldiers, one officer face court martial – GOC

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Twenty-five soldiers and an officer are currently facing court martial trial in 82 Division of the Nigerian Army for various offences.

The personnel facing the trial are drawn from various formations within the division, which Area of Responsibility (AoR) covers the entire South East States and Cross River.

Maj.-Gen. Hassan Dada, General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division, Nigerian Army, inaugurated the court martial in Enugu on Tuesday.

He said the process was instituted in pursuant to the Nigerian Armed Forces Act.

According to him, court martial is one of the vehicles used by the military to instill discipline among its personnel.

He noted that the accused, who are Nigerian Army personnel, accused to have committed various offences, could not be tried summarily without a duly constituted court martial to give them fair hearing.

The GOC said that just as in civil court, the accused remained innocent until proven otherwise after going through the court martial and given due fair hearing and ability to defend themselves.

He noted that the court martial had been empowered to try the accused persons, and if they were not found wanting, would be discharged and acquitted of their alleged crimes.

Dada noted that if the accused were found guilty, he or she would be panelised according to the law criminalising such an offence committed.

“Let me assure you that this court martial will be guided by the principle of natural justice and fair hearing as encapsulated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and to other extant laws and procedures related to your trial.

“The court is free from any external influences and we will ensure adequate time and facilities to ensure you defend yourselves,” he said.

The GOC assured all of justice, adding that evidence and allegations laid against the accused would be clearly verified and authenticated to ensure that “the innocents were never victimised”.

He, however, urged the defence counsel of the accused to avoid unnecessary adjournment and time wasting.

The court martial has a President, Col. Usman Ahmad, leading other 10 members of the panel as well as one awaiting panel member.

The court martial also has a Judge Advocate, Capt. S.A. Sadiq, to duly advise the panel as the proceedings continued.

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