Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Subject to the confirmation by military authorities, Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Oyabanji Michael Bamidele is sentenced cumulatively to 21 years imprisonment by a General Court Marshal sitting at the 101 Air Defence Group in Makurdi held on 24th September, 2020.
Accordingly, Bamidele is to make a refund of N28.9 million to the Military Personnel Multipurpose Cooperative Society, formerly known as 35 Base Service Group Cooperative Society Makurdi,
Presided by Air Commodore Nazir Muhammad Aliyu, the court found Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Oyabanji Michael Bamidele guilty of 46 count charges, leading to his sentencing.
Court findings showed that MWO Bamidele assumed the role of “Alpha and Omega” of the cooperative, when there is no documentary evidence to show that the leadership of the cooperative as President was trusted into his hands. He was the Vice President and assumed the role when the substantive President was transferred out of Makurdi.
Other punitive measures doled out to the accused included that he should be demoted to the rank of Corporal, return a 50Kv Generator to the cooperative as well as a plot of land.
Also sentenced was Warrant Officer (WO) Atteh Paul Ayodele, who was found guilty of three count charges to wit negligence to duty, criminal breach of trust and making false documents.
According to findings by the court, WO Atteh had between August 2014 and June 2019 negligently performed his duty as Treasurer of Military Personnel Multipurpose Cooperative Society; dishonestly converted to his own use uncompleted building belonging to the cooperative as well as signed blank mandates.
In pronouncing the sentence, Air Commodore Aliyu said the court had considered the plea by defence counsel, plea by the accused, the demeanour of the accused person and advice by the Judge Advocate as well as the service record of the accused person and accordingly sentenced him as follows: Count one, demotion in rank; count two, fine of One Million Naira, which is an average cost of rent in Makurdi for the period he used the warehouse and on count three, demotiin to the rank of Corporal. His sentence is however subject to confirmation by the confirming authority.
The trial of WO Atteh began on 22nd January, 2020 and has Sunday Adukwu as his defence counsel.
The two personnel of Nigeria Air Force (NAF), until their conviction were officials of Military Personnel Multipurpose Cooperative Society formerly known as 35 Base Service Group Cooperative Society and were tried over allegations of dishonesty, criminal breach of trust and falsification of documents and unwholesome transactions bothering on finances and assets of the cooperative.