Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has told the Nigerian military authority not to affirm the death sentence handed out to twelve soldiers who were convicted for mutiny, among other charges, urging them to reduce the sentences to imprisonment in the interest of justice.
The convicted twelve were part of eighteen soldiers who were tried for firing shots at General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 7th division of Nigerian Army, Major General Ahmed Mohammed, on Wednesday May 14, 2014 in Maiduguri and were found guilty of criminal conspiracy, mutiny, attempt to commit murder, insubordination to a particular order and false accusation.
Four were acquitted while one was sentenced to prison for 28 days.
Falana in his on view beckoned on the Army council to tamper justice with mercy. He however added that if the council upholds the verdict, the convicted soldiers should seek redress at the court of appeal.He argued that the circumstances surrounding the alleged mutiny should be put into thought, as prior to the incident soldiers at the Maimalari cantonment had complained of lack of ammunition, food and allowances. He furt
her brought to memory that the fact that the arrival of the GOC happened a day after the corpses of soldiers killed by a Boko Haram ambush were brought to the barracks, which must have driven the soldiers to rebel.
He continued that although mutiny should not be tolerated in the armed forces, the 18 soldiers were erroneously charged under section 52(1) of the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 instead of section 52(2) which provides for life imprisonment.
He further noted that the GOC was not killed after his car was shot at, hence the attempted murder charges which does not attract a death sentence.