The Nigerian Army Council, on Wednesday, has recommended that the former Commander of the Multi National Joint Task Force, Enitan Ransome-Kuti, who was sentenced to six months imprisonment, be released from jail and demoted. The council also recommended that the general be reabsorbed into service and deployed with immediate effect.
The Brigadier-General was sentenced by a Special Court Martial on October 15, 2015, for alleged offences during the war against Boko Haram. He was punished for his cowardly behaviour and failure to perform military duties, after Boko Haram militants overran a heavily fortified military base in Baga, north eastern Nigeria, on January 3, 2015.
Mr. Ransome-Kuti, who was also guilty of miscellaneous offences relating to service property, was appealed for, after his conviction, by his lawyer, Femi Falana. However, the request was turned down by the military authorities. On Monday, Mr. Falana petitioned the Army authorities demanding his freedom, saying his client was still held in prison custody despite completing his jail term. He stated that Gen. Ransome-Kuti was unjustly convicted by the court martial.
As the findings of the Special Court Martial are subject to the confirmation of the appropriate authority we made a strong representation to the Army Council on behalf of our client. Mr. Falana, stated.
By letter dated 19 October, 2015, we also requested the Authorities of the Nigerian Army to release our client from military custody pending the determination of the appeal which he intended to file against the unjust findings of the Special Court Martial which convicted him of war related crimes and sentenced him to 6-month imprisonment and dismissal from the Nigerian Army.
Mr. Falana said the army’s refusal to release his client was a violation of Section 160 of the Armed Forces Act (Cap A20) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. However, it was unclear whether the recommendations of the council would be upheld as the army spokesperson could not be reached at the time of this report.
Thus, you caused our client to serve the 6-month prison term without the confirmation of the findings of the Special Court Martial by the Army Council.
As if that was not enough, you have ignored our demand for the release of our client since he completed the 6-month prison term on February 15, 2016.