ABUJA – Some Nigerians have expressed mixed feelings to the death sentence recently passed on some Nigerian soldiers serving in the North-East for acts of mutiny.
Some of the citizens said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the soldiers should not be killed but be served a lesser sentence.
Others, however, think that the death sentence should be carried out.
NAN recalls that 12 soldiers who attacked and shot at their superior in Maiduguri in May were sentenced to death by firing squad in September, 2014.
Also, 59 others were in October arraigned on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny, out of whom 54 were sentenced to death in December, having been found guilty of the charges.
Retired Commissioner of Police, Lawrence Alobi, said the only way to stop munity by soldiers was training, capacity building and empowerment of the military.
Alobi said that when the soldiers were properly trained they would be able to withstand challenges.
“The military need to be empowered in terms of provision of equipment and motivation. When these are done, the case of people going contrary to the rules or ethics of the profession will not arise any longer,” he said.
The former police commissioner said the military like the police, had their code of conduct and professional ethics whose violation attracted sanctions.
“Munity or working contrary to the ethics of the profession is sanctionable and anybody who does that is liable.
“Before you join any profession you are made to know the powers, your duties and your privileges and limitations,’’ he said.
On his part, Mr Sanya Adejokun, Managing Editor, Economic Confidential, told NAN that there was need to instill discipline in soldiers in order to guard against mutiny.
Adejokun said that every organisation; every job had its own rules and regulations “and by the time you join the military you must be conversant with their rules and regulations”.
“These days we are challenged with insurgency and I don’t think as a nation we will tolerate soldiers running away from battle under the pretext that they are not probably armed.
Mrs Kambili John, a civil servant, said since soldiers risked their lives to save others’ in spite of the “unpleasant working conditions under which they are operating, the military authorities should make their sentence lighter’’.
“It is not fair to kill them, they should be given lighter sentences, especially in view of the unpleasant conditions under with which they are fighting,” John said.
And for Mohammed Danladi, a teacher, killing the soldiers would only portray Nigeria as a very ungrateful nation.
“Killing them would make us look like we are an ungrateful nation in the comity of nations.
“These are people we should see as patriots and even if they err, their punishment should be corrective.
“What will we teach our children about patriotism if those that risked their lives to save the lives of others are killed,’’ Danladi asked.
Mr Tobechukwu Arinze, said discipline was the watchword of the military and should be adhered to.
“I feel for them and their families, but there is nothing anyone can do because the law must take its course and they knew the penalty for mutiny before committing it,’’ Arinze said.
Miss Naomi Shettima, said the death sentence should be carried out if it would stop further acts of mutiny.
“If they are spared because of what Nigerians are saying, other soldiers would see it as the order of the day and[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″] commit the same offence in future,” Shettima said.
However, Miss Tope Arowolo, a hairstylist, condemned the soldiers for committing mutiny but pleaded that the death penalty be commuted because the soldiers were still young and had families.
“What they did is condemnable because they signed to protect the lives of Nigerians with their lives and to obey orders.
“But I still think that the sentence should be commuted to life imprisonment in order to serve as deterrent to others.’’ (NAN)