While the rest of us are begging for leniency, some retired senior military officers say the 12 soldiers sentenced to death last week for attacking their GOC at their barracks in Maiduguri, deserve to die.
Speaking with Sunday Punch, the ex-generals said it's necessary for the military to maintain its age-long rules on discipline, hailed the judgement and said it must be carried out. A former Commandant of the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Brig.-Gen. Williams Obene (retd.), said,
“I commend the boldness of the Army authorities to follow the terms and conditions of service – the extant laws that established the armed forces, particularly the Army– and for trying to uphold discipline at the highest level. When politicians and highly influential Nigerians interfere in the daily administration of the military, things become difficult. That situation is very prevalent under democracy.”
A former Adjutant-General of the Nigerian Army, Major General David Jemibewon (retd.), said
“The military does not operate on sentiments or on people expressing either sympathy or lack of sympathy. Most of the things (we do) in the military are based on laws. It is difficult for me to align with people calling for clemency or pardon. The court martial has the facts and they have now come to conclusion after allowing evidence.”
Retired Colonel Anthony Nyiam also hailed the judgment, saying
“As a soldier, and respecter of the law and tradition, the worst thing a soldier can do is to mutiny. And the penalty, as the law says, should be served. If you interrupt the traditions of the military, you’re interfering with the foundations.”
Former military administrator of Bauchi and Osun states, Col. Theophilus Bamigboye (retd.), backed the sentence, saying
"The court has followed the laid down procedure and military etiquette. They (the court) must have looked at the entire situations before arriving at the sentence. We have our own laws and so many things regulating our conduct in the military. I will not want anybody to die but we are talking of military procedure, which has to be followed.”
If all these people are backing their death sentence then there may not be hope for these soldiers. But I pray it isn't so because that will be so sad. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army says it's waiting for the approval of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, on the death sentence given to the soldiers.