Law News
Falana confirms dissolution of courts-martial, commends FG

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), who is the lawyer to many convicted soldiers and others being court-martialled for various military offences, on Sunday confirmed that the military authority of the new Chief of Staff, Maj.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has dissolved the General Courts-Martial sitting in various part of the country.

SUNDAY PUNCH had exclusively reported that the new Chief of Army Staff, under the leadership of Buratai, was revisiting all the cases against military officers and soldiers which emanated from the ongoing operation against insurgency in the North-East.

The SUNDAY PUNCH’s story also indicated that the military had begun the process of reviewing cases of soldiers dismissed from service as a result of alleged acts of cowardice, insubordination, mutiny and related allegations.

Falana commended the Federal Government and the military authorities for dissolving the courts-martial which, he said, was part of desperate moves by the former CDS, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd), to execute soldiers who refused to commit suicide.

Falana said, “I have confirmed from the Chief of Army Staff that the courts-martial have been disbanded while the cases of convicted soldiers would be reviewed.

“A committee has already been set up to inquire into the cases of dismissed soldiers. As counsel for scores of soldiers, I wish to thank the Federal Government and the military authorities for putting an end to the desperate move of marshal Felix Badeh, former CDS and co to execute soldiers who refused to commit suicide.”

Falana noted that between September and December last year, two courts-martial which sat in Abuja convicted and sentenced 70 soldiers to death despite the soldiers’ complaints of insufficient equipment to fight the better equipped Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East.

He said, “Between September and December last year, two courts-martial which sat in Abuja, convicted and sentenced 70 soldiers to death.

“The soldiers, who were charged with mutiny, had complained of lack of equipment to fight and the failure of the military authorities to pay their operational allowances.

“The allegation of the diversion of the troops’ allowances was confirmed by the military authorities who removed the General Officer Commanding the 7th Infantry Division of the Nigerian Army based in Maiduguri, Borno State at the material time.

“Following the embarrassment which the conviction of the 70 soldiers attracted locally and internationally, the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, General Kenneth Minimah, refused to confirm the findings of both courts-martial contrary to the provision of section 22 of the Armed Forces Act.

“Thus, by refusing to confirm the findings, General Minimah deliberately denied the convicted soldiers the right to challenge their conviction at the Court of Appeal in line with the provisions of the Constitution and the Armed Forces Act.”

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