Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Nigerian military Special Court-Martial (SCM) has in its judgement demoted the former Commandant, 68 Military Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Major-General Patrick Falola to the rank of Brigadier General, over acts of indiscipline.
The President of the Court, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) James Gbum, delivered the judgement yesterday at the Mogadishu Cantonment, in Abuja, after more than five hours of proceedings.
Gbum who is also the Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP) Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Headquarters, said that the ruling was subject to approval of the Nigerian Military Council.
According to him, the demoted senior officer could continue with his current rank pending when the judgement is ratified by the Army Council.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai in May approved the trial of Falola and former Chief of Army Transformation and Innovation Centre, Major-General Ibrahim Sani, for what military sources said were offences contrary to service discipline.
While the fate of former Commandant of 68 Military Hospital, Lagos has been decided, that of Sani is yet to be ruled on by the SCM.
At the inaugural sitting in May, the President of the Court, AVM Gbum had noted that the senior officers would be tried pursuant to a convening order emanating from the office of the COAS, saying that the powers of the court were derived from the Armed Forces Act.
He listed other members of the Special Court Martial as Air Vice Marshal Iya Abdullahi, who is the Chief of Training and Operations at NAF Headquarters; Rear Admiral Peter Agba, a former Chief of Naval Transformation, Surgeon Rear Admiral Edwin Elechukwu and the Judge Advocate, Colonel Saeed Musa.
Navy Captain Chris Anushiem is the Defence Counsel for Major-General Ibrahim Sani, while retired Wing Commander Enokela is the defence counsel for Major General Falola. Lieutenant Colonel Ukpe Ukpe is the prosecution witness for the Nigerian Army.