Court of Appeal stays execution of court martialled soldiers

A Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has stayed the execution of the death sentences passed on two of the twelve Nigerian soldiers court martialled by the army authorities last September.

The soldiers were tried under the General Court Martial which sat at the Army Headquarters Garrison, Mogadishu Cantonment in Abuja, on allegations of offences of conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny under the armed forces act 2004.

Three of the convicted soldiers, CPL Stephen Clement, CPL Igomu Emmanuel and Private Andrew Ngbede, however approached the appellate court through their lawyer, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), to challenge the decision of the court martial, which convicted and sentenced them to life imprisonment and death.

The convicted soldiers raised 11 grounds of appeal each in their separate appeals challenging the very many fundamental irregularities and improprieties characterizing the entire trial at the general court marshal and asked the court to stay the execution of their sentences pending the hearing and determination of their appeals.

In his ruling the lead judge, Justice Abubakar Abdulkadir, restrained the Nigerian Army or its agents from carrying out the execution of life imprisonment and death sentence imposed by the General Court Martial and ordered that the convicted soldiers be granted access to their lawyers.

The court also ordered the Nigerian Army to avail the convicted soldiers of the record of proceedings of the General Court Martial which tried and convicted them to enable them compile records for their appeal.

The application for stay of execution filed by the third convicted soldier, CPL Stephen Clement, is yet to be heard as it was not listed on the court’s list on the day those of the other convicted soldiers were heard.

Credit: Channels