A General Court Martial, constituted by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has sentenced the young recruit, Air Craft Man (ACM) Kalu Bernard to death by hanging.
ACM Bernard had shot and killed his estranged lover, Air Craft Woman (ACW) Oladipupo Sholape.
Recall that Kalu had on March 12, Bernard shot and killed Oladipupo at her Corporal and Below Quarters, Compound 9, Air Force Base, Makurdi on the suspicion that she was in a love relationship with another man.
Twenty-one-year old Kalu was said to have, after breaking into Oladipupo’s home early hours of the fateful Sunday morning, shot her on the neck at close range, and also attempted to kill the other man whom he had suspected that she was having a love affair with.
But as fate would have it, his riffle got hooked when he cocked it a second time, giving the other man the opportunity to fight for his life by struggling the riffle with Kalu until he was able to disarm him after which he was later arrested and detained.
Following the incident, the NAF immediately constituted a 10-man General Court Marshal for Kalu’s trial and he was subsequently arraigned for the first time on May 22, this year.
Reading out the almost 70 paged court findings which lasted for over two hours, the Judge Advocate, Flight Lt. MA Umoh listed the eight-count charges against Kalu to include murder, house breaking, personation, attempted murder, failure to perform military duty, loss of service property, disobedience of service order as well as prejudice of service discipline.
Umoh noted that the accused pleaded not guilty to all the eight count charges adding that prosecution brought 13 witnesses while three witnesses including the accused were called by the defence counsel.
He maintained further that even though prosecution found him guilty on all the eight count charges, defense, in closing their case, said prosecution had not proved the case beyond reasonable doubts.
The defense counsel, Abimiku Ewuga urged the court to temper justice with mercy in their sentence especially as the accused was a first time offender and the bread winner of his family.
Delivering judgement, President of the court, Gp. Capt. Elisha Bindul who found the accused guilty in six out of the eight-count charges proffered against him sentenced him to death by hanging subject to the confirmation of the conveying authority.
Ewuga, speaking with newsmen after the judgement said court has delivered her own judgement and had not erred in its decision but would surely move to the court of appeal as this general court marshal is not the final stage.
This was even as the Prosecution Counsel, Oluremi Ilori hailed the judgement adding that everybody including the deceased would be happy with the outcome of the case.