By Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Nigerian Army has court-martialed three officers and two soldiers for offences bordering on cowardice, negligence and abduction.
Also, the Army high command said it had recovered the personal effects of a missing immediate past Chief of Administration, Major General Idris Alkali (rtd).
One of the accused officers court-martialed, Captain Alhamdu Kwasau, was found guilty of offences of cowardly behaviour and negligence while carrying out his military duty. He was demoted to the rank of a Lieutenant with two years loss of seniority on the rank.
Similarly, Captain Jimen Babangida and Lieutenant Sanusi Bello were also found guilty of conduct prejudicial to service discipline.
Captain Babangida bagged nine months forfeiture of seniority on the rank, while lieutenant Bello earned six months forfeiture of seniority on the rank of lieutenant.
In the offence of disobedience to standing order, Captain Babangida is to suffer additional nine months forfeiture of seniority on the rank of Captain.
Also in a three- count charge of civil offences bordering on abduction, attempt to commit offence of abduction and extortion against one Sergeant Aliyu Hassan and Lance Corporal Bello Nasiru, the two soldiers were awarded five years imprisonment on the 1st and 3rd offences which were to run concurrently. They were also demoted to the ranks of Corporal and Private, respectively.
Speaking while delivering the judgment, the President of the Court Martial, Brigadier General Olusegun Adesina, stated that the offences bordered on cowardice, negligence, abduction and discipline.
He further stated that, all the verdicts passed by the Court are subject to confirmation by the appropriate superior authority, adding that the court martial is to keep troops in check and ensure strict adherence to the code of conduct guiding counter insurgency operations in the north-east while protecting human rights.
The proceedings of the General Court Martial was adjudged fair by both the defence and prosecuting counsel while it was monitored by members of the press.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by army headquarters last night said the missing general’s personal effects and some vehicles were recovered from the pond.
“The attention of Headquarters 3 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to news making the rounds on the various social media platforms in respect of the missing immediate past Chief of Administration (Army), Major General Idris M Alkali (retired). In the social media, it was reported that 11 cars and two corpses had been recovered. “This is false and misleading.
“This Headquarters wish to appreciate members of the public for the interest they have shown in finding the above- named missing retired senior officer.
“I wish to state unequivocally that since the commencement of the search and rescue operation as directed by Army Headquarters the following have been discovered in the abandoned mining pit filled with water.
“On September 29, 2018, a black Toyota Corolla car with the registration number KWARA MUN 670 AA, a customised white T-Shirt with Nigerian Army logo and the general’s name inscribed on it as well as a pair of canvass shoe belonging to the retired missing senior officer.
“On October 2, 2018, a white Toyota Hiace bus with registration number: PLATEAU RYM 307 XA which was reported missing with the driver on June 24, 2018 and a red Rover car with registration number: BAUCHI AG 645 TRR which was also allegedly reported to have been buried along with the occupants on January 31, 2013”, a statement signed by Deputy Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Kayode Ogunsanya, said.
The statement said “a cordon and search operation is ongoing in the general area of Dura – Du District in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State. The aim of the operation is to find the retired missing senior officer either dead or alive. This will enable his family to re-unite with him if found alive or for the family and Nigerian Army to give him a befitting military burial if he is dead. Meanwhile, some people have been arrested for further interrogation.
“Headquarters 3 Division is hereby urging the entire good and peace loving people of Plateau State and most importantly the people of Dura – Du District to come forward and give credible information about the whereabouts of the missing retired senior officer. The headquarters can be reached on GSM number 09074028881. Handsome reward awaits a credible informant and the source of information shall be protected”.