Lead counsel to the 54 soldiers sentenced to death over mutiny, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana has said he would use every legal machinery at his disposal to ensure the soldiers are not killed, as it would amount to genocide.
In a statement insisted by the human rights lawyer, he said that the action of the soldiers were clear; they disobeyed the orders of the Commanding Officer of the Special Forces Battalion, Lt. Colonel Opurum as as a result of non-availability of arms and ammunition to prosecute the instruction of the Commander.
“Convinced that soldiers who made a legitimate demand for equipment to fight the insurgents cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be properly convicted for mutiny; we shall take all necessary legal measures to prevent the army authorities from giving effect to the genocidal verdict of the court-martial.
“The oath of allegiance taken by the accused soldiers is not a license to commit suicide. It is a solemn undertaking to defend the nation based on the expectation that the Federal Government would have complied with Section 217 of the Constitution on the mandatory requirement to equip the armed forces adequately,” said Falana.
He recalled that some of the soldiers sentenced to death were part of the same men who on 18 August 2014, went to the field and fought gallantly when there was equipment to prosecute their mission.
A General Court Martial headed by Brigadier General Mohammed Yusuf had on Wednesday sentenced 54 soldiers to death after being found guilty of mutiny and conspiracy to mutiny among the 59 soldiers arraigned.