A nine-man General Court-Martial was set up on Thursday by the Nigerian military at the Defense Headquarters to charge 97 military personnel accused of mutiny, assault, cowardice and refusing to fight against the country’s northeastern uprising by Islamic insurgents.
66 of the 97 soldiers have been accused of committing mutiny, a crime punishable under the military law by death sentence.
The mass trial comes two weeks after 12 soldiers were sentenced to death by firing squad for mutiny and attempted murder of their commander.
Highly placed military sources revealed that among the personnel set to face the General Court Martial include some senior officers: two colonels and some lieutenant colonels.
Fifteen of the accused being prosecuted in the second batch of Army personnel facing the General Military Court Martial at the Nigeria Army Headquarters Garrison, Abuja, are officers while 72 belong to the rank and file.
The officers are Lt. Col. SS Tilawan, Lt. Col. DB Dazang, Lt. Col. IC Ogunmanya, Lt. Col. SU Abubakar, Maj. II Sakaba, Captain Z Alhaji, Capt. M Hamadikko and Capt. MB Abdullahi.
Others are Capt. SY Musa, Lt. T Garba, Lt. F Ogunleke, Lt. A Abdullahi, Lt. IM Okoro, Lt. D Wunuji and 2nd Lt. JM Uweh.
The composition of the GCM include Brig. Gen. Musa Yusuf (President), Col. Rabe Abubakar, Col. Mohammed Ibrahim, Col. Umar Mohammed, Col. Godwin Ugwueze, Col. Jonathan Gontor, Col. BR Abimiku,and Col. MM Bunza (members)
The President of the Court, Brig. Gen Yusuf who announced the members of the court, also named Col. At Ibrahim, Lt. Col Victor Olatunji as waiting members and Lt. Col. Ukpe Ukpe, an Assistant Director Legal Services at the Army Headquarters Garrison, as the Judge Advocate.
The Prosecuting Officers are Capt. J A Orumor, Capt. Roseline Agwai, Capt. JE Nwosu, Capt. WF David, Capt VL William, Lt AM Sani, Lt. N Okorie and LCPl Chukwu Prince-Augustine.
The President of the Court said during the inauguration that the officers and men were being arraigned to face various offences which include mutiny, assault, absence without leave, house breaking, conduct prejudicial to good orders and service discipline offences relating to service property.
He assured the accused, who appeared in two batches because of space constraints at the Army Headquarters Garrison Conference Room venue of the trail, that the court would ensure a strict adherence to the principle of fair-hearing and justice in its treatment of the cases before it.