Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to grant Presidential pardon to the 66 soldiers whose death sentences were recently commuted to 10 years imprisonment by Army Authorities, for offences ranging from insubordination to mutiny, among others.
“I ask Edo people to stand by our Armed Forces, to support the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the Armed Forces, to re-kit them but also to revive our economy. The revelation about diversion of funds meant to equip the Armed Forces is not funny and therefore we must all give the President the support he needs to bring to justice those who diverted money meant to secure all of us and convert them to political funds,” the governor said as the state commemorated the Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
“These same people sat in the comfort of their office, looking at their loot and they had the guts to put on trial soldiers who were ill-equipped and were asked to go and commit suicide in the face of Boko Haram. I am happy that the Military have in their wisdom through their own judicial process committed those death sentences to various terms of imprisonment for those soldiers who were involved.
“I am not an apostle or a supporter of indiscipline but I believe it is also a matter of hypocrisy to tie the legs of a young man or a woman and ask him to go and get involved in an Olympic race. If you chain him, how can he run?”
“I, therefore, want to lend my voice on behalf of the people of Edo State, that those soldiers at best can be dismissed from the Armed Forces, but they should not be allowed to wallow in prison. The point has been made that money meant for them was shared. If those who shared it are not likely to face death sentence, they even enjoy the liberty of bail from our high court, nothing justifies harsh treatment to the victims of their own executive rascality.
“So, I appeal to President Buhari to use his powers to grant them pardon even if they will not be allowed to retain their uniforms. We all have learnt to be vigilant and to support our Armed Forces.”
Speaking further, Oshiomole said: “I want to use this occasion to appeal to our political class not to allow their personal and selfish interest to override national interest and consideration and make inflammatory statements that questions the unity of our great country. I hold the view that the unity of a nation state cannot be treated the way the unity of voluntary association is done.”
He pledged the government’s continued support for the Armed Forces and the wards of soldiers who paid the supreme price in ensuring the unity of the nation.
“Edo State Government will support the legion with the sum of 10million naira and I will appeal to the legion to particularly show firm support to those widows arising from Boko Haram activities. If there is any of them whose children is in Edo State who are supposed to be in school, in universities and they are not there, because their parents are no more, Edo State Government even at this hour, we are ready to pick up their school fees that they may be able to attend university, colleges of education or polytechnics as the case may be to show that we do care that they died just so that we might survive here,” Oshiomole promised.