Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and human rights activist, Dr Olisa Agbakoba today kicked against a statement credited to the Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh that soldiers and officers engaged in desertion and other military offences will face summary trial and execution. Agbakoba expressed shock that such statement could emanate from Nigeria’s most senior serving military officer.
Air Chief Marshall Badeh had purportedly made the statement in reaction to comments from Nigerians on the 12 soldiers and officers recently tried and sentenced to death by firing squad for mutiny and other military offences.
Agbakoba said: “I hope that the statement does not represent what you said. I assume you have been misquoted. In the unfortunate event that the statement is true, I am shocked that this has come from Nigeria’s most senior sitting, serving military officer. With respect, the statement is repugnant to good conscience, equity and justice;
The era of military rule is over and the military is subordinate to the Constitution which has supremacy over all persons and authority. Without prejudice to the framework of Court Martials, they are subordinate to the Constitution. The popular point is that the trial of the soldiers was conducted contrary to fair hearing guaranteed by the Constitution. This is the missed point in your comments.”
Agabakoba reminded the Defence chief of a suit he filed against the Court Martial decision and urged him to wait for decision of the court before executing the soldiers.