Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The General Court Martial constituted to try the former aides of late Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has found them guilty and imposed various sentences.
Badeh, who was also a former Chief of Air Staff (CAS), was ambushed and killed on December 18, 2018 by gunmen on his way back from his farm along Gitata-Keffi Highway in Nasarawa State.
A statement by the Nigerian Air Force Headquarters said six NAF personnel, who were aides to the late CDS were given various sentences by the general court-martial sitting at the NAF Base, Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja.
The six NAF personnel, who stood trial for various offences, are Squadron Leader Tom Gwani, Flight Sergeant Amu David, Flight Sergeant Philemon Degema, Flight Sergeant Sabo Simon, Sergeant Mukhtar Abdullahi and Sergeant Alfred Alexander.
Four of the personnel were detailed to provide armed escort for Badeh while two others were detailed for guard duty at his house on 18 December 2018 when the former CDS was ambushed and killed by some gunmen on his way back from his farm.
Delivering judgment on the matter on Friday, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore David Aluku, pronounced the six accused personnel guilty of various charges including failure to perform military duties by absconding from the convoy of the deceased former CDS while it came under attack, as well as conduct to the prejudice of service discipline for giving false statements.
The charges against the accused also included other civil offences of criminal conspiracy and miscellaneous offences relating to property for illegally disposing 79 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition issued for the protection of the late CDS, among others.
“On the count of aiding and abetting, two of the personnel were found not guilty, while the other four personnel who were detailed to provide armed escort were handed various sentences”, the statement issued by NAF Spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said.
While pleading in mitigation, the defence counsel urged the court to show leniency, describing the accused persons as first time offenders.
The NAF’s statement, which did not state specific individual sentences, said the judgment was subject to confirmation by the appropriate superior authority.