Okodili Ndidi, Abuja
The General Court Martial (GCM) sitting in Abuja, has sentenced six Nigerian Air Force Personnel for criminal conspiracy, dereliction of duty over the gruesome murder of former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh. The sentences are however subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority.
The convicted Officers were Squadron Leader Tom Gwani, Flight Sergeant Amu David, Flight Sergeant Philemon Degema, Flight Sergeant Sabo Simon, Sergeant Mukhtar Abdullahi and Sergeant Alfred Alexander. Four of the personnel were detailed to provide armed escort for the late CDS, while two others were detailed for guard duty at his residence.
Badeh was killed on the 18 of December 2018 by unknown gunmen along Gitata-Keffi Highway in Nasarawa State, while returning from his farm. In a statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, while delivering his judgment, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore David Aluku, pronounced the six accused personnel guilty of various charges including failure to perform Military duties, by absconding from the convoy of the deceased former CDS while it came under attack, as well as conduct to the Prejudice of Service Discipline, for giving false statements.
According to the statement, the charges against the accused also included other Civil Offences of Criminal Conspiracy and Miscellaneous Offences Relating to Property, for illegally disposing of 79 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition issued for the protection of the late CDS, among others”.
It added that, “on the count of aiding and abetting, two of the personnel were found not guilty, while the other four personnel who were detailed to provide armed escort were handed various sentences. While pleading in mitigation, the Defence Counsels urged the Court to show leniency, describing the accused persons as first time offenders. The sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority.