Lawmaker seeks review of death sentence for soldiers
A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member of the House of Representatives, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, has appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to order review the verdict of the military court which prescribed death penalty for soldiers who allegedly defaulted while prosecuting the fight against insurgency in the North east.
Meanwhile, the outgoing General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Tamunomieidi Dibi has charged officers and men of the Nigerian Army in Lagos and Ogun states to be wary of Boko Haram sect and be vigilant to ensure that the insurgents do not infiltrate Nigeria’s economic hub and its environs. Nkem-Abonta, who faulted the decision of the 2014 military court-marshal, pointed out that “Under the circumstances those men fought, anybody would rebel.
We were also told that there were infiltrators. So, if you look at the totality of what happened, there should be a review of those cases.” In a chat with newsmen in Abuja yesterday, the lawmaker, representing Ukwa East/West Federal Constituency in Abia State, explained that “in war situation, the chances of survival for a soldier is 50-50.
But the soldier must be equipped and put in a position that would make him do his best and come back alive. But where the soldiers sense betrayal on the part of the leadership, are they supposed to die quietly, and without talking? “We are yet to get the full story of what transpired in the military tribunal, it should be made available so that we can know the statements of the court-marshaled soldiers, and the various defence available to them.
“Some of them acted on impulse. So, the authorities should tamper justice with mercy by carrying out a total review of the law so as to give encouragement to their compatriots still in the theatre of war. Their cases should be reviewed and the sentences could be reduced.
But the authorities must be careful about it so that we do not cause disobedience in the military,” he added. Gen. Dibi gave the charge yesterday in his farewell speech to officers and men on parade. The GOC, who completed his mandatory 35years in service yesterday, handed over the leadership of the 81 Division to the newly appointed GOC, Major General Edet, at the headquarters of the division in Kofo Abayomi, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The retired GOC revealed that dozens of members of the Boko Haram sect were arrested during his 18 months service at the 81 Division. “You are all aware of the challenges we are going through, the problem of Boko Haram. The fact that you are not in the North east does not mean you are not fighting the war. We are all involved in the war because wars of this nature do not have a front or a rear.
So far, we are winning the war, and I want you to do more. Be more vigilant and ensure security of your environment, your Barracks. “I do not want to be in my village to hear about any careless death. I want to hear that this division I am leaving is the most efficient in the Nigeria Army.
I give God the glory for making it possible to serve Nigeria for 35 years and retiring today. I also thank all of you for supporting me. “Some of you have done so well by cooperating, some of you lagged behind. For those lagging behind, please change your attitude towards work, be more dedicated because you do not have any other job than this job, neither do you have any other army.
The army is a voluntary organization which you decided to join, nobody forced you to join, therefore, do not allow anybody to force you to do your job. If you do your job, you are not doing anyone any favour. It is your job and you should do it well.” According to Gen. Dibi, “Military job is a challenging task, and Lagos State itself is a peculiar state.
We have had our challenging times but we were able to overcome them. Under my watch, we were able to prevent the incursion of Boko Haram insurgents into Lagos. A good number of them were arrested here in Lagos’’. Having served for 35 years and retiring now, the legacy I expect my successor, the new General Officer Commanding 81 Division, to uphold is to ensure a highly disciplined professional, and efficient 81 Division.”