…for killing officer
- Six others get jail terms for manslaughter, assault
The General Court Martial (GCM) sitting at Maimalari Cantonment in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, has sentenced Trooper Azunna Mmaduabuchi to death by firing squad. He was found guilty of killing an officer, Lt. Baba Shehu Ngorgi of 202 Battalion in Bama.
The convict was alleged to have emptied nine rounds of ammunition on his Adjutant- Commander, resulting in his instant death. Six other soldiers tried alongside Mmaduabuchi in connection with manslaughter and assault were, however, awarded sentences ranging from one to four years jail terms, as well as reduction in rank from Lance Corporal to Private.
The various sentences are subject to confirmation by the Army high command. Maimalari Cantonment, venue of the trial, is the headquarters of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army. Delivering his judgement yesterday, President of the GCM, Brig.-Gen. Arikpo Ekubi, said the prosecutor proved his case beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intentionally shot and killed Ngorgi.
Ekubi held that: “You intentionally opened fire and emptied your magazine of nine rounds of ammunition on the deceased officer, Lt. B.S Ngorgi, who was the Adjutant of 212 Battalion, Bama, which led to his instant death. “You betrayed the trust and confidence reposed on you by the Nigerian Army to ensure dignity and respect for human life.
“Your action is, therefore, viewed with displeasure and an affront to efforts of the present leadership of Nigerian Army, which emphasised the protection of human rights and professionalism in the discharge of its constitutional roles.
“While condemning your action of unlawfully killing the officer in a gruesome manner, this court consider the plea in mitigation punishment by your counsel, the General Court Martial takes cognisance of all your counsel has said and the fact that you are involved in the Theatre of Operation.
“However, the gravity of the crime that you have committed against the innocent officer, which by application is a crime against humanity and an attempt to drag the good name of Nigerian Army into mud must be sanctioned appropriately.
“The penalty for the offence of murder as provided by section 106 of the Armed Forces Act is death. This sentence is to be carried out by firing squad. May God have mercy on your soul,” he said.
“The murder is a heinous crime. Your action is observed with displeasure; justice is a three-way traffic: justice for the deceased, justice for the society and justice for the victim. “This judgement hereby closed the case.”
It will be recalled that Trooper Mmaduabuchi committed the offence on July 29, 2020, while he was having a telephone conversation with his wife. Ekubi also convicted four soldiers for manslaughter for their involvement in torturing a civilian, one Peter Apogu to death over a missing car battery.
Based on their nature of involvement in the act, Sgt. Sani Ishaya, the leader of the team, was sentenced to four years in prison, Lance Cpl. Fabiyi Bidemi is to serve two years, while Private Adamu Abdulrashid and Private Musa Bala are to serve one year each.
Speaking during the proceedings, the Judge- Advocate, Major Chikwudi Okonkwo, explained that Sgt Sani, Lance Corporal Abudemi, Private Adamu and Private Bala were charged for tying the hands of Peter Okogu, and subsequently leaving him with fatal injuries.
Also, Private Mohammed Kuru was sentenced to three years imprisonment for accidental discharge at a wedding ceremony of his friend. The incident led to the death of a 12-year-old boy, Adamu Musa Kolo, in London Ciki area of Maiduguri metropolis.
One Lance Cpl. Aja Emmauel was demoted to private for assaulting a civilian, causing him “grievous bodily harm.” The court president, however, said that all the sentences are subjected to confirmation by the appropriate superior authority as provided under Section 151 Sub Section 1b and Section 152 Sub section 1b of the Armed Forces Act.
Before the sentencing, however, the defense counsel, Mr. Adetufa Babatunde, had prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, considering the years they had put in service, their dependants and the fact that they were first offenders.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen, the parent of the deceased, Adamu Musa Kolo, Abba Kolo said: “I am happy today.
This judgement has proved to us and the world that the court martial is ready to give hope to the common man. “I thank Nigerian Army for ensuring justice is done to the soul of my son. We are happy with the judgement.”
Also in an interview, Jumai Mshelia of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) commended the military for ensuring the sanctity of human lives