Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division Nigerian Army (NA), Major General O. F. Azinta, yesterday inaugurated a General Court Martial (GCM) to try erring personnel of the division.
He said the setting up of the GCM which was held at the Tiger Officers’ Mess, Agoro, Ibadan in Oyo State is in line with the importance of discipline to the success of any organisation, particularly the military in peace or in war situation.
The GOC in a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations of the Division, Colonel Hassan Ifijeh Mohammed, charged members of the GCM to base the court martial on due process and in conformity with extant civil and military laws especially the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Armed Forces Act.
According to him, members of the court are expected to painstakingly ensure that every step or action taken in the trial process is in conformity with the provisions of the laws.
While emphasising that military justice is not an instrument of discipline but used to promote discipline, he noted that the president and members of the GCM were carefully appointed considering their ranks, seniority, general service knowledge and wealth of experience to ensure fair trial and enhance the course of justice.
“They are men of integrity and character, therefore, I have no doubt in their ability to dispense justice fairly,” he said.
The GOC stated further that justice as confirmed by late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa is three-way traffic; justice for the accused, justice for the victim and justice for the state.
He said: “It is equally important to recall that both Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Section 122 of the Armed Forces Act 2004 emphasise that expeditious and speedy trial provides basis for trial. This is one of the advantages of a GCM; this advantage will be lost if we allow delays on unnecessary technicalities to characterise the day-to-day proceedings of the court.”
Azinta, however, assured all the accused persons that the court would be fair and just, while reminding the president and members of the GCM as well as the prosecution and defence counsel that as ministers in the temple of justice, they must all be seen to advance the course of justice in all their actions and dealings.