The Prelate and Moderator of the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Emele Uka, has condemned the recent death sentence by firing squad pronounced on 12 soldiers by the General Court Martial of the Army.
The soldiers were found guilty of mutiny by an army court martial in Abuja after they opened fire on the vehicle of the then General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division 7 of the Nigerian Army, Maimalari Barracks, Major General Ahmadu Mohammed.
Prof. Uka described the death sentence as primitive, barbaric, ungodly, inhuman and a miscarriage of justice.
“The use of firing squads”, the Prelate said, “is inhuman and is being discarded the world over. Although mutiny, or rebellion in any form, cannot be encouraged, applying the death sentence by firing squad in a case such as this is like killing a fly with a sledge-hammer.
“Besides, natural justice demands that the military authorities whose decision resulted in the alleged act of mutiny should have equally been disciplined”.
The Prelate urged President Goodluck Jonathan as Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces to commute the death sentences to prison terms and save the nation from further blood shedding.
He also described as most despicable the recent beheading of American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff as well as the British aid worker, David Haines by the terrorist group, Islamic State (ISIS).
The clergyman noted that the action of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and that of Boko Haram in Nigeria, were a global jihadist agenda and called on world powers to come together to resist the move in the interest of world peace and security.