General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Hassan Dada, on Tuesday, following the military personnel facing the trial, inaugurated the court martial in Enugu under the Nigerian Armed Forces Acct.
Twenty-five soldiers and an officer who are drawn from various formations within the division, whose Area of Responsibility (AoR) covers the entire South East States and Cross River are currently facing court martial trial in 82 Division of the Nigerian Army for various offenses.
The GOC said that a court martial is one of the mediums adopted by the military to discipline its personnel. According to him, the accused Nigerian Army personnel can only be tried if there is a duly constituted court martial to give them a fair hearing.
Maj.-Gen. Hassan Dada stated that all the Nigerian Army personnel accused of committing various offenses are innocent until proven otherwise through the court martial due fair hearing just like in the civil court.
The court martial has the jurisdiction to try the accused military personnel to determine whether guilty or not. Hence, if not found guilty, would be discharged and acquitted of their alleged crimes while if the accused were found guilty, he or she would be persecuted according to the law based on the offence(s) committed.
GOC said: “Let me assure you that this court-martial will be guided by the principle of natural justice and fair hearing as encapsulated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and to other extant laws and procedures related to your trial.
“The court is free from any external influences and we will ensure adequate time and facilities to ensure you defend yourselves,” he added.
The GOC assured all of justice, adding that evidence and allegations laid against the accused would be verified and authenticated to ensure that “the innocents were never victimized”.
However, the Army General warned the defense counsel of the accused military personnel to avoid unnecessary adjournment and wasting of time.