Nigerian Soldiers On Death Row Challenge Judgement
Twenty-five soldiers of the Nigerian Army on death row have challenged the death sentence handed down to them by a Federal High Court on accusations and charges of impunity and conspiracy.
The soldiers comprising of 21 private soldiers, two corporals and two lance corporals filed a suit against the Nigerian army and the Chief of army staff, Kenneth Minimah, over the death sentence handed to them on December 24 last year.
With solid representation by the Falana and Falana chambers, the soldiers in their summon queried the refusal of Mr Minimah and the Nigerian army to make public the findings of the general court martial, this they described as illegal since their lives were at stake here.
They also required in their summons to ascertain if the refusal of the defendants to either confirm or review the death sentence, or make a copy of the judgment delivered by the court martial available, is legal and under the confines of the law.
The condemned men also sought to determine whether the death sentence can be carried out without an approval or mercy from the new president. And if it is legal to deprive them of visits from their lawyers and family members.
It was gathered that they have been barred from seeing anyone even close family members on grounds that they were on death parole.
The soldiers ultimately asked for a review of their judgement and visitation rights for their close family members and Lawyers.
Altogether, the soldiers, in their suit, sought 12 reliefs.
They asked that the sentence should not be carried out until an appeal court had determined and declared that they were indeed guilty of death. Also, they sort for an approval or a prerogative mercy from President Muhammadu Buhari.
Other reliefs include suspending the execution of the judgement until an appeal had been heard, making the investigations and findings of the court martial that condemned them public and also directing Mr Minimah and the Nigerian army, to permit family members and lawyers to visit the soldiers.
The summons taken out by Funmi Falana and Samuel Ogala of the Falana and Falana chambers stated that if the Nigerian army and Mr Minimah do not make a court appearance in person or through a legal representative, the judge may carry on with the suit as it deems fit and necessary.
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