The General Court Martial sitting at the Army Headquarters Garrison in Abuja has sentenced 54 soldiers to death after they were found guilty of mutiny.
59 soldiers had been arraigned before the court martial on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny.
Four of them were however acquitted when the judgement was passed yesterday.
The soldiers who were serving in Borno state, where the country is fighting Boko Haram insurgency, allegedly refused lawful orders by their commander in August, to help retake three towns occupied by insurgents. They however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The soldiers, attached to the 7 Division, Nigerian Army in Maiduguri include two Corporals, nine Lance Corporals and 49 Private soldiers.
According to the charge, the soldiers conspired to commit mutiny against the authorities of the 7 Division on August 4, at the Mulai Primary School camp, opposite AIT Maiduguri, Borno State. The prosecutor, Captain J.E. Nwosu, told the military court that the accused soldiers had on August 4, refused to join the 111 Special Forces Battalion troops, commanded by Timothy Opurum, a Lieutenant Colonel for an operation.
According to him, the operation was meant to recapture Delwa, Bulabulin and Damboa in Borno State from the Boko Haram terrorists. The offence is punishable under Section 52(1) (a) of the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The soldiers are the second batch of Nigerian soldiers sentenced to death by the Military court. 12 soldiers were in September sentenced to death for mutiny and attempted murder of their commanding officer.