Law News
Condemned 54 soldiers should not be killed, says Chukwuocha

An Ikoyi-based legal practitioner and Partner, RichardDenning LP, Richard Chukwuocha, has called on Nigerian government to ensure that the 54 soldiers, sentenced to death by firing squad by a military court martial for conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny, do not die.

According to him, there were evidences pointing to the fact that the soldiers were poorly equipped to embark on the task of reclaiming the cities in Borno State, overtaken by Boko Haram militia, arguing that Nigeria will be killing the soldiers for nothing, for refusing to commit suicide by facing the deadly Islamic extremist group with inferior firearms.

He said: “We will be killing our soldiers for nothing, save irrefutable evidence is produced to the effect that they were properly equipped but refused to engage the Boko Haram. Until this is done, no soldier should be executed for refusing to engage in warfare without necessary weaponry.”

He argued that Section 217 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, imposes an obligation on the federation to equip and maintain the armed forces as may be considered adequate and effective for the purpose of (a) defending Nigeria from external aggressions (b) maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on land, sea or air and; (c) suppressing insurrections and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the president among others.

He also recalled that the Chief of Accounts and Budget of the Nigerian Army, Major General Abdullah Muraina, once told Nigerians that ethno-religious crisis and terrorism had left serious financial demands on Nigerian Army, which needed to be addressed.

Explaining the magnitude of the problems, he said: “Last year, N4.8billion was allocated for capital projects for the Nigerian Army. Of this amount, because of the security challenges, the army decided to buy ballistic helmets and fragmented jackets (2 items) for 20, 000 soldiers at a cost of $1,500; it will amount to about N3 billion. Meanwhile, about nine items are needed for the soldiers.”

This portrays the abysmal state of the Nigerian Army, he stated, and the need for the federation to urgently do the needful and empower the army in order to reposition them to defend Nigeria from disintegration.

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