Ransome-Kuti, Other Convicted Soldiers Beg For Pardon
Among the soldiers is a former Commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, Enitan Ransome-Kuti, who was demoted from the rank of Brigadier General to Colonel.
Others include Lt. Col. A. O. Ojo, who was dismissed by the Nigerian Army for alleged negligence of military duties; and 54 soldiers, who claimed to have been illegally tried and convicted by the court-martial for demanding weapons for counter-insurgency in the North-East.
The rest are Lance Corporals Bankole Taiwo, Ayodele Olawale and Isiah Olofu as well as Private Adebayo Gbenga, who are collectively seeking the review of their convictions.
The Justice Biobele Georgewill-led seven-man panel had, at its inaugural sitting on Monday, expressed doubts on its jurisdiction to entertain the complaints of the soldiers bordering on decisions of a military tribunal with pending appeals against the said decisions at the Court of Appeal.
But with the soldiers’ lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), insisting that the panel had jurisdiction to hear the complaints, the panel, on Monday, directed parties to the complaints to file written addresses on the issue.
Arguing on behalf of his clients on Tuesday, Falana conceded that his clients had pending cases before the Court of Appeal challenging their convictions and the sentences passed on them by the courts martial.
He maintained, however, that the pending appeals had not robbed the panel of the jurisdiction to hear his clients’ petitions which he said were only urging the panel to recommend to President Muhammadu Buhari to grant them pardon.