Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, needs to ensure that the soldiers indicted for the murder of three policemen who arrested a kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu aka Wadume, face trial in line with court order.
A rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, who made the call, said the order made by Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja mandating the Chief of Army Staff to produce the soldiers to answer to the heinous charge of terrorism and allied offences was apt and must be obeyed.
In a statement issued yesterday, Falana disagreed with the AGF that the indicted soldiers could be tried by a court-martial. He said the offence of terrorism allegedly committed by the soldiers was not provided for in the Armed Forces Act. The police had earlier charged the indicted soldiers to court alongside Wadume and others.
However, the names of the indicted soldiers were later removed from the charge by the AGF after his office took over the trial of the suspects. Justifying his action, the AGF disclosed that there was a need to allow for the consummation of “established process”.
Malami said he withdrew the charges against the soldiers to allow the Army to court-martial them and conclude its internal process. He said: “They are military personnel. First, they are to go through the inhouse processes.
There are twooptions– either tocharge them before the court-martial which is a special court established by law for the trial of soldiers or in the alternative for the military after consummation of the in-house processes should consider handing them over for trial.”