"Court Martial Proceedings Were Conducted in a Fair and Unbiased Manner" - Nigerian Army Reacts

The Nigerian Army (NA) has reacted to an online media platform, that reported that some allegedly aggrieved soldiers who were recently arraigned before a Court Martial in 82 Division, Enugu expressed concern that there was a deliberate effort to convict soldiers of Southern extraction, while those from Northern Nigeria were allowed to go free. 

Contrary to the misleading report being circulated to cause disharmony within the Nigerian Army and by extension the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), the Nigerian Army through its spokesperson,  Major General Onyema Nwachukwu clarified and unequivocally aver that the report is entirely bereft of any strand of truth and ultimately aimed at disparaging the current leadership of the NA in particular and the AFN in general,   using the instrumentality of ethnic and religious bigotry.

He noted that the composition of the Court Martial was not based on regional representation, rather, the membership of the court was diverse, with personnel drawn from various regions of the country. 

General Nwachikwu added thst it is exigent to note that the President of the Court Martial is of northern extraction, while the Judge Advocate is from the South. Additionally, 60 per cent of the Court Martial members are of Southern extraction, demonstrating a fair and balanced representation, even though religion and ethnicity are not  major focal criteria in the decision making process of the NA.

He stressed that the decision of a Court Martial is collective and based on evidence presented during the trial. The said Court Martial tried the personnel, irrespective of their ethnic and religious affiliations and the outcome was  determined strictly based on the evidence presented. 

"In espousing the position of the NA in the cases mentioned in the report, taking that of Pte Usman Shonva for instance, wherein  evidence revealed that there were other soldiers at the scene of the incident, who also fired their weapons, hence, the court, based on this finding among others, reached the conclusion that the shot that killed the dead soldier could have been fired by any of the soldiers at the scene, thus, leading to his discharge and acquittal. 

"It must be emphasized, that the NA does not task its personnel (including for court martial membership) on a regional basis in order to achieve "national spread".

"The NA is a composite national institution and not an ethnic militia. It will therefore not bite the odious bait being dangled to induce splintering along sectional, ethnic and religious fissures. The court martial proceedings were conducted in a fair and unbiased manner. 

"It is advisable therefore, that the concerned online media refrains from peddling misinformation capable of engendering disaffection and disharmony among NA personnel, other services and security personnel. 

The Nigerian Army therefore urged the public to note the true picture and discountenance the false report published by the online media platform. Continued spread of the misinformation will  only serve the ulterior motive of the author, which is to cause disharmony in the NA.

The NA is committed to upholding justice, equity and discipline within its ranks, and will continue to ensure that all personnel are treated fairly and in accordance with the law. 

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