The plea for clemency for the 12 soldiers convicted by a military tribunal, last week, for mutiny cut no fancy of the Nigerian Senate. ‘The soldiers deserve to die’ is the apparent verdict of the senate. Geore Sekibo, Senate Defence Committee chairman, said the conviction of the soldiers was consistent with the Armed Forces Act and the oath of allegiance signed by soldiers, which if breached attract deserved consequences. “The Armed Forces were established by an Act of the National Assembly and then the Act also spelt out categorically their conduct and the way they are to behave wherever they are.
“If you join the military, that Act is to guide you. If you go contrary to any of the prescribed laws, the punishment prescribed will come on you.
“The military did not wake up one day and say that they are going to kill Mr. A or Mr. B. It went through its processes and found them guilty, but I think that they also have a way out. They can appeal.”
Don’t Pull The Trigger – NLC
The position of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, on the convicted soldiers is at variance with the Senate’s. Promise Adewusi, acting national president of the workers’ union said, on Tuesday, in Abuja that the death conviction be commuted to prison sentences due to tense security in the country. Adewusi told journalists at a press conference that it was important the military authorities considered leniency for the soldiers so as to boost their morale in fighting insurgents in the north-east.
“We note the fact that the military is a command and control institution that thrives on firm discipline; The punishment for mutiny on the conviction as spelt out in section 52 of the Armed Forces Act, is…to suffer death: The Nigerian army is at war; the trail procedure may have been legally correct; We nevertheless find the conviction harsh, insensitive and unacceptable.
“We are not agitating for a reversal, because agitating for a reversal will mean that we are asking that the people be set free. We are saying yes, they have been convicted but we think that the death sentence is too harsh in the circumstances as we understand it from the outside,” he said.