From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The Nigerian Army Court Martial has sentenced one of its personnel in the counter-insurgency operation in Borno State to seven years imprisonment for killing an unarmed civilian in Maiduguri.
President of the court, Brig Gen Olusegun Adeniyi, said the convicted army personnel, Lance Corporal Hassan Adamu, used “excessive force” by shooting dead one Umar Alka, near Maiduguri Monday Market on December 23, 2015.
“It is a case of excessive force on unarmed civilian who was hostile to the soldier,” the court declared.
The court martial dismissed claim by the soldier that the civilian tried to snatch his gun, saying the victim did not pose any “considerable threat” to the soldier, having been overpowered.
“You are not guilty of murder but manslaughter. This court, therefore, found you guilty of manslaughter. Having found you guilty of manslaughter and your plea for mitigation of your offence, being a first offender, you are sentenced to seven years imprisonment,” the president of the court ruled.
The army court martial also condemned the action of the deceased, who allegedly pounced on soldier, saying such action did not show him as a responsible citizen.
The court also convicted one Lance Corporal Egbe Chigozie for desertion, having abandoned his post for 272 days to enjoy his allowances and salaries.
He was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment.
The sentences, the court martial stated, were subject to confirmation by army authority.