As Nigerians are begging for the pardon of the 12 Nigerian soldiers sentenced to death for mutiny by a general court martial, 60 more are awaiting the same fate for the same offence.
If something is not done on time, another set of Nigerian soldiers, 60 of them, could be heading for the firing squad as they are going to be arraigned before yet another a General Court Martial, GMC, by the country's military authorities in Abuja, for refusing to join troops in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, for an operation against the Boko Haram sect, an offence seen by the military as mutiny.
The offences which the military high commission said were committed on August 4, 2014, is punishable by death, the same fate that befell the 12 soldiers earlier sentenced to death, now famously referred to as Maiduguri 12.
The arraignment which will take place at the Sani Abacha Barracks in Abuja, is also headed by Brig. Gen. C. Okonkwo, the same man that handed down the death sentences to the 12 soldiers and observers say the same fate await the new 60 men.
In the charge sheet against this new set of soldiers comprising 2 corporals, 9 lance corporals and 49 privates, they are to be tried on two counts of conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny.
The accused allegedly committed the offences at the Mulai Primary School, opposite African Independent Television in Maiduguri, Borno State, on August 4, 2014, by refusing to join “111 SF Bn troops” led by Col. E.A. Aladeniyi to Maimalari Barracks in connection with an operation.
According to the charge sheet, they “conspired to commit mutiny against the authority of 7 Division,” an offence said to be punishable under Section 91(1) of the Penal Code Cap P89 LFN 2004.
The soldiers were also accused of committing mutiny which is said to be punishable under Section 52(1)(a) of the AFA CAP A20 LFN 2004.
The charges are said to be triable in the GCM under Section 114 of the AFA Cap A20 LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 91(1) of the Penal Code Cap P89 LFN 2004.
The charge sheet reads;
Count One: Criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny triable by the General Court Martial by virtue of Section 114 of the AFA Cap A20 LFN 2004 and punishable under section 91(1) of the Penal Code Cap P 89 LFN 2004.
Particulars of offence: In that you at Mulai Primary School Camp opposite AIT Maiduguri on or about 4 August, 2014, conspired to commit mutiny against the authority of 7 Division.
Count 2: Mutiny contrary to and punishable under section 52(1)(a) of the AFA CAP A20 LFN 2004.
Particulars of offence: In that you at Mulai Primary School Camp opposite AIT Maiduguri on or about 4 August, 2014, refused to join 111 SF BN troops led by Col. E.A. Aladeniyi (N/9695) to Maimalari Barracks in connection with an operation.
Should these set of soldiers also be sentenced to death?