Nigerian Army General faces court martial over viral video, social media-related offences

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Former OPLD , Maj-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi

Barring any last minute change in administrative plan, the Nigerian Army may arraign former Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD), Maj-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, before a General Court Martial (GCM) sitting at the Army Headquarters (AHQ) Garrison in Abuja, today.

Investigations revealed that the former OPLD commander’s before the GCM, may border on “social media- related offences”, which is a violation of a Standing Order/Directive by the Army command.

In the extant order, the Army had forbidden and soldiers from discussing operational or such other activities of the Service in public. Recall that sometime in March, a of the ex-OPLD commander raising concerns about the nature of equipment available for troops prosecuting the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency war in the North-East theatre of operation had gone viral.

In the said video, which insiders said was meant to be a classified material, the two-star General had explained how he led his troops to repel a major attack by suspected terrorist elements, notwithstanding the constraints.

Peeved by that action, the Army authorities had posted the senior officer for jurisdiction (trial) at the AHQ on July 20. His posting came alongside many other senior officers, who were either redeployed to new commands/formations, or appointed to positions. Highly-placed sources have confirmed to this newspaper, that the GCM was set for Adeniyi’s trial today, all things being equal.

It was gathered that proceedings had been slated for 10a.m., wherein the accused person is expected to take either a “guilty” or “not guilty” plea. Speaking in confidence with our correspondent, one of the sources said: “I can confirm to you that General Adeniyi’s trial will begin on Monday with his arraignment before a GCM at the AHQ Garrison. I’m told that his trial will border on social media-related offences. Remember that video that went viral at a time?

“The Army feels strongly that, like civil or public servants, an officer is not supposed to raise issues concerning the Service on social media, or any public space.”

Another source, who spoke in similar vein, said: “There is a Standing Order; a directive that came against use of social media by service personnel.

“By the time you violate that directive, that means you have disobeyed the standing order made by the authorities concerned. In this case, the Nigerian Army.

“That directive is a Standing Order, so to speak. So, by the time you violate that directive, automatically you will be charged with disobedience to standing orders under the Act.

“It is based on that directive. If there is any order in the Army, and you disobey it, you will be charged appropriately.” (New Telegraph)