The General Court Martial set up by the Nigerian Army to try the General Officer Commanding 8 division; Sokoto Major Gen Hakeem Oladapo Otiki has found the senior officer guilty on all five counts and ordered his dismissal from service with disgrace and dishonour.
The Court headed by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Army, Lt. Gen Lamidi Adeosun found Major General Otiki Guilty of disobedience to service orders under section 66 of the Armed Forces Act (AFA), on count there, four and five respectively and theft of public property among others.
The GCM also found the accused senior officer guilty of stealing N100 million and N160, respectively money belonging to the Nigerian army.
It pronounced the following punishments among others, dismissal from service with disgrace and dishonour, reduction in rank from Major General to Brig General, and severe reprimand.
The sentences are however subject to confirmation of the Army Council.
The Court also ordered that all monies totaling #135.8million, $6,600 recovered by the Special Investigation Bureau be returned to the coffers of the Nigerian Army.
It ordered that another sum of #150million stolen money which could not be accounted for should also be returned to the coffers of the Nigerian Army.
It added that all the sentences are subject to the approval of the appropriate convening authority.
The judgments according to the charges are Count 5: Two (2) years loss of seniority on rank of Major General. Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
Count 4: Severe reprimand, Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
Count 3: Reduction of rank to Brigadier General with two years seniority on the rank, Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
Count 2: Dismissal, disgrace and dishonour, Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
Count 1: 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 that remained unaccounted for in Count Two should be returned to the coffers of the Nigerian Army.
Earlier in his final submission, the lead counsel for Major General Otiki, Barr. Israel Olorundare SAN pleaded for clemency and urged the General Court Martial to temper justice with mercy saying it should not use a sledge hammer to kill a fly.
He reminded the court that General Otiki in all his years in the Army leading to this point, was a very loyal officer, a disciplined officer and well-mannered and a good manager of resources which was attested to by Col Nuhu Mohammed, Deputy Director, Records in the office of the Military Secretary, Army, who read his resume.
Aside this, the senior advocate reminded the court that General Otiki was the officer who facilitated and obtained the NNPC license for the Nigerian Army and assisted greatly in helping to tackle criminality in Lagos area during his time in Operation Mesa.
Regarding the various counts, the Senior Advocate said, in Count1, the accused senior officer returned the sum of #100million to the authorities which were stolen by the soldiers detailed to escort the money to Kaduna.
On Count 2, he said it was proved that some of the projects for which the sum of #150million was released to the accused senior officer were either completed or are ongoing and workers are still on site.
Furthermore, he urged the court to consider that the accused senior officer who is very sick, is also due for retirement this year. His wife has cancer and his mother died on the same July 2019 that soldiers taking the money to Kaduna robbed the money.
Aside this, Barr Olorundare reminded the court that Gen Otiki is the breadwinner of his family lamenting that, “A career built for 45 years is coming to an end on a very sad note.
After the court pronouncements and sentences, the Senior Advocate said the Defence will make a representation to the appropriate convening authority to note that General Otiki is not the one that robbed the money and be was the one who reported the incident
“Aside this, he still sourced for the Money and returned it to the authorities. So there is really needed to take another look at the judgment.”
Major Gen. Otiki had been on trial following the abscondment of five soldiers attached to his office with the sum of N100 million.
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.
Others on the panel of the court martial which had been sitting for nine months include Major General A Tarfa, Major General FO Agbugor, Major General FA Nadu, Major General N Mohammed, Major General CT Olukotu, and Major General C C Okonkwo. Major A Mohammed was the judge advocate; and Captain A Ibrahim the Liaison Officer.
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