Military tribunal tries 17 soldiers over accusations of weapon sales and related offenses

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In Plateau State, a significant legal spectacle unfolds as 16 soldiers and one officer find themselves under the scrutiny of a court martial. Accused of a range of offenses, including armed robbery, murder, unlawful possession and selling of arms and ammunition, these personnel face the full weight of justice within the jurisdiction of the 3rd Armoured Division.

The inaugural session of this court martial convened at the esteemed 3rd Armoured Division, Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, located in Bassa Local Government Area, commenced its proceedings on Tuesday. Maj. Aminu Mansur Mairuwa, the acting Deputy Director of Legal Services for the 3 Division Nigerian Army, emphasized the institution’s commitment to discipline and adherence to internal disciplinary mechanisms.

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According to Mairuwa, the court martial serves as a vital avenue for ensuring compliance with rules of engagement, codes of conduct, and international best practices. Brig. Gen. Liafis Bello, presiding over the General Court Martial, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the Army’s core values of discipline, regimentation, and professionalism.

Unveiling the court martial, Brig. Gen. Bello reiterated the military’s dedication to transformation under the command philosophy of Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff. He underscored the Army’s mission to evolve into a well-trained, equipped, and motivated force, aligned with constitutional responsibilities within a joint environment.

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YEPS reports that, Maj. Nasir Abdullahi, the Judge Advocate, underscored the court martial’s role in maintaining discipline and ensuring timely investigation and prosecution of erring officers and soldiers. He urged the accused and their defense counsel to avoid unnecessary delays that could impede the dispensation of justice.

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Representing the Plateau State chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, Samson Gotom, emphasized the importance of a fair trial and expressed satisfaction with the court’s composition. The court adjourned proceedings until March 6, 2024, marking the beginning of what promises to be a significant legal process.

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