Posted by News Express | 18 December 2018 | 1,316 times
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2nd Division of the Nigerian Army (NA) Major General O. F. Azinta on Monday inaugurated a General Court Martial (GCM) to try erring personnel of the Division. This, he said, “is in line with the importance of discipline to the success of any organisation, particularly the military in peace or in war.”
In his speech at the inauguration of the General Court Martial at the Tiger Officers’ Mess, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State, the GOC enjoined members of the GCM to base its activities on due process and in conformity with extant civil and military laws, especially the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Armed Forces Act.
“In view of this, members of the court are expected to painstakingly ensure that every step or action taken in the trial process is in conformity with the provisions of the laws,” he said.
The GOC emphasised that military justice is not an instrument of discipline, rather it is used to promote discipline. “The president and members of this GCM have been carefully appointed considering their ranks, seniority, general service knowledge and wealth of experience to ensure fair trial and enhance the course of justice. They are men of integrity and character, therefore I have no doubt in their ability to dispense justice fairly,” he said.
The GOC also noted that justice as confirmed by late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, is a three-way traffic: justice for the accused, justice for the victim and justice for the state.
In his words, “It is equally important to recall that both Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Section 122 of the Armed Forces Act 2004, emphasise that expeditious and speedy trial provides basis for trial. This is one of the advantages of a GCM, this advantage will be lost if we allow delays on unnecessary technicalities to characterise the day to day proceedings of the court.”
However, the GOC assured all the accused persons seated at GCM that the court will be fair and just, while also reminded the president and members of the GCM as well as the prosecution and defense counsels that as ministers in the temple of justice, “you must all be seen to advance the course of justice in all your actions and dealings.”
He urged all to live above board bearing in mind that doing otherwise will have implications on the dispensation of justice in the NA, and that “it is better to set ten criminals free than to convict one innocent person.”
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