The Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, Senator Thompson Sekibo has said that members of the Senate will not be intervening on the death verdict handed to 12 soldiers for mutiny by a military court on September 16th.Senator Sekibo who spoke with journalists after a closed-door meeting between the senate committee on Defence and the Service Chiefs at the National Assembly in Abuja yesterday September 23rd, said the verdict of the military court is meant to instill discipline into the military.
“No we are not, because the Armed Forces are established by an Act of the National Assembly. The Act spelt out categorically the conduct of the soldiers and the way they are to behave wherever they are. If you join the military, that Act is to guide you and your conduct. If you go contrary to any of the prescribed sections of the Act the punishment prescribed for the Act you violated will come on you. So the military did not just wake up one day and say that they are going to kill Mr. A or Mr. B.”
They went through the necessary processes and they found them guilty. But I think that those found guilty also have a way out. They can go on appeal and if the appeal finds them not guilty that will be it. But for what the military has done, they have done the best thing; because you must instill discipline in the Armed Forces. If you don’t do so, one day all of us here will be sacked and you will not hear of this place,” he said.
Meanwhile the Nigerian Labor Congress has condemned the death sentence. Speaking through the Acting President of the Union, Promise Adewusi, the NLC described the verdict as unacceptable and advised that the verdict be converted to a more tolerable and acceptable one
“We expect that the Military Council or the appropriate authority, whose responsibility it is to review sentences of this nature, should commute this sentence to a more tolerable or acceptable one.”.
He said the sentence to death verdict handed to the soldiers if carried out could sow the seed of a major security problem in the armed forces.