Falana to Buhari: 70 Soldiers Convicted of Mutiny Deserve Pardon

Falana to Buhari: 70 Soldiers Convicted of Mutiny Deserve Pardon

  • A total of seventy (70) soldiers convicted by the armed forces between 2013 and 2014 are still languishing in prison
  • Popular human rights lawyer, Chief Femi Falana, says granting amnesty to terrorists and leaving the soldiers in detention is not justified
  • The Senior Advocate of Nigeria called on President Muhammadu Buhari to grant a presidential pardon to the soldiers

FCT, Abuja - Human rights lawyer, Chief Femi Falana, has written to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to pardon 70 convicted Nigerian soldiers.

Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, defended 58 of the 70 soldiers after they were dismissed by a general court-martial and convicted between 2013 and 2014.

Falana urged President Buhari to pardon the 70 soldiers convicted of mutiny. Photo credit: Audu Marte/AFP
Source: Getty Images

He said their dismissal from the army was ill-advised by the military authorities, adding that if the government can pardon repentant terrorists, the same gesture can be extended to the soldiers.

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Excerpts of the letter seen by Legit.ng read:

Do you have a groundbreaking story you would like us to publish? Please reach us through info@corp.legit.ng!

“Instead of attending to such legitimate demand, the military authorities accused scores of the soldiers of sabotaging the counter-insurgency operations of the federal government and proceeded to set up courts-martial to try them for mutiny.”

He faulted the court martial for refusing to appreciate that the demand for weapons by the soldiers was justified under section 179 of the Armed Forces Act, (Cap A20) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

According to him, the law permits a soldier, rating or aircraftman, to make a complaint to his commanding officer, and that he shall not be penalised for having made a complaint so far as the complaint does not contravene any provisions of the Act.

The lawyer also said the court martial’s decisions convicting and sentencing the soldiers were against judicial precedent.

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Urging the president to pardon the soldiers, Falana pointed out that a presidential panel to probe arms procurement for the military had established instances of diversion of public funds against top military officers.

He added:

“The coterie of military officers who cornered the fund deliberately sabotaged the counter-insurgency operations of the government of Nigeria.”

He, therefore, said the demand of the soldiers for weapons to fight the insurgents was in order.

Some Nigerians on social media have been commenting on Falana's letter.

Eric C. Gbufor wrote on Facebook:

“Everyone convicted of a crime that has realised his or her mistakes deserve to be free and acquainted just like the repentant Bokoharam. Let's be civilized and not biased.”

Emah Akpan wrote:

“The truth must be told! The soldiers and the victims of these terrorists have been forgotten while the government is looking for every available option to compensate the terrorists.”

Tony Loveliness wrote:

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“Supported. And not only soldiers should be forgiven but all prisoners in Nigerian correctional houses because they have repented too. After all, some of the prisoners did not kill anybody.”

Recall that Falana escorted Commodore Kunle Olawunmi (rtd) to the Abuja office of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) on Tuesday, August 31.

Olawunmi was invited by the DIA to shed more light on an interview he granted Channels Television recently.

The retired military chief had stated that sponsors of insurgents and bandits were known to the federal government, adding that some of them are currently governors, senators, and serving ministers.

Meanwhile, the presidency on Saturday, August 28, denied allegations that President Buhari accepted in 2012 the invitation to be Boko Haram negotiator.

The denial was in response to comments made by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state accusing the president of complicity in Nigeria's security challenges.

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, in an interview, said the allegation by Governor Ortom against his principal is baseless.

Source: Legit.ng

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