George Okoh in Makurdi
The 10-man General Court Martial of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) TuesdayÂ sentenced Air Craftman Benard Kalu to death by hanging for the killing of his colleague, Corporal Oladipupo, alleged to be his girlfriend.
Kalu had on March 12 this year shot and killed Oladipupo at her Corporal and Below Quarters, Compound 9, Air Force Base, Makurdi on the allegation that she was having an affair with another man.
Kalu, 21, was said to have, after breaking into Oladipupoâ€™s home in the early hours of the fateful Sunday, shot her on the neck at close range, and also attempted to kill the other man whom he had suspected she was having an affair with.
But as fate would have it, his rifle got hooked, giving the other man the opportunity to fight for his life by struggling the rifle with him until he was able to disarm him.
Kalu was later arrested and detained.
Reading out the almost 70-page court findings which lasted for over two hours, the Judge Advocate, Flight Lieutenant MA Umoh, listed the eight-count charge against Kalu to include murder, house breaking, attempted murder, failure to perform military duty, loss of service property, disobedience of service order as well as prejudice of service discipline.
Umoh noted that the accused pleaded not guilty to all the eight-count charge, adding that the prosecution brought 13 witnesses, while three witnesses including the accused were called by the defence counsel.
He maintained further that even though the prosecution found him guilty on all the eight-count charge, the defence, in closing their case, said the prosecution did not prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
The defence counsel, Abimiku Ewuga, urged the court to temper justice with mercy in their sentence especially as the accused was a first time offender and the bread winner of his family.
Delivering judgment, President of the court, Gp. Capt. Elisha Bindul, who found the accused guilty on six out of the eight-count charge preferred against him, sentenced him to death by hanging subject to the confirmation of the conveying authority.
Ewuga, speaking with journalists after the judgment, said court had delivered its own judgment and did not erred in its decision but would surely move to the Court of Appeal as this General Court Martial is not the final stage.
This is even as the prosecution counsel, Oluremi Ilori, hailed the judgment adding that everybody including the deceased would be happy with the outcome of the case.