Soldier Sentenced to Seven Years for Manslaughter

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Michael Olugbode
A Special Military Court Martial sitting in Maiduguri has sentenced a soldier, Private Hassan Adamu, deployed for the counter-insurgency operations in North-east to a seven years jail term for manslaughter.

The convict was accused of killing, on December 23 2015, an unarmed civilian, one Umar Alka at the Maiduguri Monday market.

The convict had shot late Alka in the chest, claiming the deceased attempted to disarm him.
Witnesses who testified in the proceedings told the tribunal that the deceased before he was shot by the soldier had chanted Allahu Akbar in the tradition of members of Boko Haram ready to launch an attack and had approached a Hilux vehicle of the convict.

They said this made the convict to come out of his vehicle and batter the late Alka several times before finally putting the bullet through him, which resulted in his instant death.

The court martial was also told that there was no struggle between the deceased and the convict.
In his testimony, Father of the slain person, Abubakar Abacha, resident of Bulabulin area of Maiduguri metropolis, told the court martial that he received a call that a soldier killed his son.

Abacha added that he arrived the scene only to find his son in a pool of his blood, with deep hole passing through his chest. He said the deceased is a person of good character and free from drug abuse and cosquently wrote a patition to the military over the issue.

Delivering judgement, President of the court martial, Brigadier General Olusegun Adeniyu, averred that based on the rule of engagement, soldier can only apply maximum force when the minimun one fails.

He added that in his confessional statement, while being interrogated by a military police investogator, the convict admmitted that the deceased was unarmed during the incident.
While pronouncing the judgement, Brigadier General Adeneyi said Private Adamu was found guilty for the offence and was therefore dismissed from the Nigerian Army and jailed seven years, subject to the confirmation by the military authority.

This, he said was in accordance with the Nigerian Armed Forces Act and Nigerian Criminal Justice.