No fewer than 158 soldiers fighting the war against Boko Haram in the northeast are facing court martial on various offences and infractions on military rules and ethic.
Theatre Commander of the counter-insurgency operation codenamed Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Christopher Musa while inaugurating the General and Special Military Court Martial, headed by Brigadier General Dominic Udofa as president and Major General Bainze Mohammed, in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital yesterday, described court martial as a regimental and judicial trial in the military to ensure discipline, accountability and fairness.
“Court martial trials are regimental and judicial exercise, the end of which may review, reduce or remove the rights and privileges of serving personnel,” he explained.
He disclosed that the court deals with matters pertaining to military regimentation, discipline, efficiency and morale of personnel.
He said that the contact of military personnel with the state and civil populace often places them on high pedestal of responsibility than other citizens.
He added that the military was an organisation guided by laws and rules, and noted that the courts will conduct their duties within the ambit of the Nigerian Constitution and the Armed Forces Act.
He, however, expressed regret that military personnel on the battlefield, engaged in the war against terror should face court martial.
“Honestly, I feel pained that our troops have to face court martial. The fact that they have been fighting in the operation was enough sacrifice but the military is a disciplined institution. The personnel know the rules and the regimentation and everybody in the service ought to be conscious of these all the time,” he told journalists.
Legal Adviser to the court, Squadron Leader Adeniji, said 28 officers were among those facing trials while the rest are soldiers. He said there were three courts; two General Court Martial Yobe and Borno and one Special Court Martial to treat very serious offences.