The new General Officer Commanding(GOC) for 8 Division of the Nigerian Army, Sokoto, Major General Godwin Mutkut on Friday inaugurated a 12-member Special and General Court-Martials for the trial of 68 officers and soldiers.

Those for the trial were accused of committing various offences while on duty during operation Hadarin Daji.

Brigadier Clement Iyere and Colonel Bashir Nuhu respectively are Presidents of the courts.

The special and general court martials were inaugurated at the newly commissioned Lt. General T.Y Buratai Giginya Barracks Auditorium Hall, Sokoto.

General Mutkut, who is the convener, urged the court to ensure the principle of fair hearing was respected in the course of trial.

The GOC stressed that the court must ensure the truth prevails by evaluating all evidence on their merits while pointing out that those on trial were serving personnel who committed certain offences against the military authorities and country.

However, Mutkut pleaded that the accused should be treated with decorum and fairness while assuring them that the court martial would be guided by the principles of natural justice, as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution as amended and according to extant laws.

The lead defence counsel, Barrister Godwin Uwadiae said he was optimistic and confident that the court would do justice to the accused with the remarks by the GOC who stressed on fair hearing.

He added: “I am hopeful of a fair trial. Although my worries are that a lot of them have overstayed in detention without trial: some 18 months, seven months, even some two years, which our constitution forbids.”

“They should have been moved to their respective units on bail, except for those who committed homicide or armed robbery offences, which are punishable by death. “




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