At least 16 soldiers and one officer are currently facing court martial in Plateau State,Nigeria.

The personnel facing the trial were accused of various offences, ranging from armed robbery, murder, unlawful possession of arms and ammunition, and selling same, contrary to their operational mandate within the 3rd Amoured Division.

The inaugural sitting of the court martial it was learnt, took place at the 3rd Amoured Division , Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, Nigerian Army in Bassa Local Government Area on Tuesday.

The acting Deputy Director of Legal Services, 3 Division Nigerian Army, Maj. Aminu Mansur Mairuwa, who spoke after the inauguration of the General Court Martial, noted that the Nigerian Military was an institution that believed in discipline and would continue to ensure the full application of its internal disciplinary mechanism.

He said the accused personnel were brought before the court martial to follow the necessary procedures premised on respect for the rule of law and ensuring that there was compliance with the principle of natural justice and the extant rules and procedures.

“The essence is to make sure that the military personnel always operate within the confines of our rules of engagement, code of conduct, and respect to international best practices,” Mairuwa stated

The President of the General Court Martial, Brig. Gen. Liafis Bello, who took time to read the order of the Convening Officer and General Officer Commanding 3 Division, Maj. Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, maintained that the Nigerian Army, as an institution, thrived on discipline, regimentation, and utmost professionalism.

He said unveiling the court martial in the Nigerian Army was a routine duty aimed at compliance with the dictates of the military justice system, pointing out that the 3 Division Headquarters of the Nigerian Army had keyed into the command philosophy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, which is “to transform the Nigerian Army into a well-trained, equipped and highly motivated force towards achieving our constitutional responsibilities within a joint environment.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Judge Advocate, Maj. Nasir Abdullahi, stressed that the court martial was set up to enhance discipline and ensure that erring officers and soldiers were investigated and prosecuted within a reasonable time through the laid down rules, regulations, and procedures.

Abdullahi charged the accused and their defence counsel to avoid frivolous adjournments that might lead to unnecessary delay in dispensing justice.

The representative of the Plateau State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, Samson Gotom, stressed the need for a fair hearing and expressed satisfaction with the composition of the court.

The court adjourned till March 6, 2024, for commencement of the trial.

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