All is not well in the Nigerian Army, as General Hakeem Oriki’s Lawyers are set to embark on legal battle over his demotion from General to Brigadier General, following the ruling of the General Court Martial on the missing N100 Million.
The legal team of General Oriki, who is a serving senior army officer and immediate past General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division Sokoto, said that they await the final decision of the Nigerian Army Council on his fate before taking the next steps after his conviction on the five count charges brought against him and demotion to the rank of Brigadier General by an army court martial in Abuja.
Head of the legal team to the accused senior army officer, Israel Olohundare (SAN) told news men after the trial that the conviction and sentencing by the General Court Martial “did not reflect the realities on ground, facts, witnesses called and evidences tendered” hence they are looking forward to a favourable response from the Army Council on the matter.
Major Gen. Otiki had been on trial following the abscondment of five soldiers attached to his office with the sum of N100 million but which had erroneously been reported in the media as N400million. The five soldiers, who absconded with the money were allegedly instructed to deliver it to a senior officer in Kaduna for the purchase of furniture meant for the 8 Division of the Nigerian Army in Sokoto.
The fleeing soldiers, who have since been declared wanted are: Corporal Gabriel Oluwaniyi, Corporal Mohammed Aminu, Corporal Haruna, Oluji Joshua and Hayatudeen. One of them Lance Corporal Isah later returned the sum of N15 million as well as $6,600 to army authorities voluntarily and he was detained.
Lt. General Lamidi Adeosun who is also the Army Chief of Policy and Plans led the nine month trial. Others on the jury of the court martial include Major General A Tarfa, Major General FO Agbugor, Major General FA Nadu, Major General N Mohammed, Major General CT Olukotu, Major General C C Okonkwo. He also named Major A Mohammed was the judge advocate; and Captain A Ibrahim the Liason Officer
The President of the General Court Martial General, Adeosun, in sentencing the demoted army General, had said: “many will be praying to have such an unblemished career and record of military service in the country like the accused senior army officer.”
General Adeosun said that having confirmed that Major General Otiki is a first time offender in his 34 years of “previously unblemished career in the army and to the Nigeria armed forces”, the court president however said it would “not fail in dispensing justice. We would do the very best with the humanness and kindness that the law allows.”
The President of the General Court Martial then went ahead and delivered the sentencing of Otiki and ruled as follows:
COUNT FIVE: Two (2) years loss of seniority on rank of Major General. Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
COUNT FOUR: Severe reprimand. Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
COUNT THREE: Reduction of rank to Brigadier General with two years seniority on the rank. Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
COUNT TWO: Dismissal, disgrace and dishonour. Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
COUNT ONE: Dismissal, disgrace and dishonour. Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
1. All monies recovered by the Special Investigation Bureau (SIB) of the Nigerian Army totaling N135,382 million and $6, 600 dollars from the convicted senior officer should be returned to the Nigeria Army coffers.
2. The N150million stolen by the accused senior officer which remained unaccounted for in Count Two should be returned to the coffers of the Nigerian Army.
The prosecution counsel, Major A. A Onumo had earlier thanked the court martial for doing justice to the case after the conviction of the army general.