July 15, 2014
The soldiers being court-martialed allegedly revolted and opened fire on their commander’s car.
The Nigerian military has lined up 21 witnesses to testify against 18 soldiers who are being court-martialed over allegations that they mutinied while at their duty post in Maiduguri and tried to kill their General Officer Commanding in the process.
The witnesses include a Major General, two Brigadier Generals, three colonels, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors, and three Captains.
Others are a Lieutenant, two second Lieutenants, one Master Warrant Officer, three Sergeants and a private soldier.
The court is also empowered to call up other witness(es) if the need arises during the proceedings.
We are withholding the names of the witnesses following concerns raised by our sources that revealing their identities might endanger them and compromise the ongoing trial of the soldiers.
The witnesses are expected to back the claims of the prosecution and tell the court-martial that the suspects indeed committed the offences for which they have been charged.
The Commander, Army Headquarters Garrison, B.T. Ndiomu, had on July 20 convened a General Court Martial, GCM, to try the 18 soldiers for allegedly rebelling against the army, disobeying their superiors, threatening the lives of their commander and bringing the army to disrepute.
The soldiers to be court martialed allegedly revolted and opened fire on the utility vehicle of the General Commanding Officer of the army’s 7 Division in Maiduguri, Borno State, Ahmadu Mohammed on May 14.
The court martial, which is already underway, is being presided over by C.C Okonkwo, a Brigadier General.
The army accused the soldiers of attempting to kill the GOC, Mr. Mohammed, who was immediately redeployed to another formation after the incident.
The soldiers had blamed Mr. Mohammed, a Major General, for the deaths of their colleagues killed in an ambush near Chibok where nearly 300school girls were kidnapped.
The attack in Maimalari cantonment humiliated the Nigerian military at a time the force came under international spotlight over the abduction of nearly 300 school girls in Chibok by the extremist Boko Haram sect.
Following PREMIUM TIMES report of the discreet trial, the Nigerian Army confirmed the court-martial at a press conference last week.
A colonel, Onyema Nwachukwu, representing the spokesperson for the Defence Headquarters, confirmed our report of the trial.
Mr. Nwachukwu said he could not however confirm how many soldiers were facing trial. He asked to be patient, saying details of the trial would be made public.
The military court is made up of seven members, two waiting members, a judge advocate and two prosecuting officers.
Others members include: a liaison officer, a contact officer, two officers authorized to sign any amendment, convening officer and eight other soldiers who form a court secretariat.