Barring any unforeseen occurrence the 60 soldiers, who allegedly committed mutiny on 4 August, 2014 by refusing to join troops in Maiduguri for “an operation,” will be arraigned before a General Court Martial authorities in Abuja Tuesday (today), the military authorities have said.
The arraignment will take place at the Sani Abacha Barracks, Abuja it was gathered that some of the 12 soldiers convicted on 15 September, 2014 by the GCM had notified the Court of Appeal of their intention to challenge their sentences.
The GCM headed by Brig. Gen. C. Okonkwo had sentenced 12 out of 18 soldiers facing trial guilty of mutiny among other offences and sentenced them to death. Five of them were however discharged and acquitted and one sentenced to 28 days’ imprisonment with hard labour and reprimand.
The soldiers were charged with mutiny among other offences, including attacking the former General Officer Commanding the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army, Ahmed Mohammed.
The charge sheet revealed that the soldiers, comprising two corporals, nine lance corporals and 49 privates, are to be arraigned on two counts of conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny.
The accused allegedly committed the offences at the Mulai Primary School, opposite African Independent Television in Maiduguri, Borno State on 4 August, 2014 by refusing to join “111 SF Bn troops” led by Col. E.A. Aladeniyi to Maimalari Barracks in connection with an operation.
According to the charge sheet, they “conspired to commit mutiny against the authority of 7 Division,” an offence said to be punishable under Section 91(1) of the Penal Code Cap P89 LFN 2004.
The soldiers were also accused of committing mutiny which is said to be punishable under Section 52(1)(a) of the AFA CAP A20 LFN 2004.
The charges are said to be triable in the GCM under Section 114 of the AFA Cap A20 LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 91(1) of the Penal Code Cap P89 LFN 2004.
The two corporals are Andrew Ogolekwu and Saturday Efa.
The charge sheet reads, “Count One: Criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny triable by the General Court Martial by virtue of Section 114 of the AFA Cap A20 LFN 2004 and punishable under section 91(1) of the Penal Code Cap P 89 LFN 2004.
“Particulars of offence: In that you at Mulai Primary School Camp opposite AIT Maiduguri on or about 4 August 2014 conspired to commit mutiny against the authority of 7 Division. “Count 2: Mutiny contrary to and punishable under section 52(1)(a) of the AFA CAP A20 LFN 2004. Particulars of offence: In that you at Mulai Primary School Camp opposite AIT Maiduguri on or about 4 August 2014 refused to join 111 SF BN troops led by Col. E.A. Aladeniyi (N/9695) to Maimalari Barracks in connection with an operation.”
Indications had emerged on Sunday that lawyers seeking to file an appeal challenging the conviction of some of the 12 soldiers by the GCM had not been able to have access to them.
There were reports that the convicted soldiers had been moved from the Defence Headquarters Garrison, Abuja to a detention facility at the Directorate of Defence Intelligence, Lagos.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Godwin Obla, who brought the process of appeal on behalf of three of the convicted soldiers, said his chambers had made unsuccessful attempts to get in touch with them without success.