ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The Special Court Martial (SCM) sitting at the Army Headquarters, Garrison, Abuja has adjourned the case between the Nigerian Army and the two accused senior officers, Maj-Gen. Sani Ibrahim and Maj-Gen. Patrick Falola to May 9, 2016.
Ibrahim was formerly with the Army Transformation and Innovation Centre, while Falola was the former Commander, 68 Hospital, Yaba Lagos.
The president of the court, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) James Gbum, had during the inauguration of the SCM on Thursday, made the pronouncement in consideration of the request of the prosecution counsel, Lt. Col. Ukpe Ukpe.
The inauguration saw Col. Said Musa as the Judge Advocate; AVM. Iya Abdulahi, and Rear Admiral Peter Agba as members, and Rear Admiral Edwin Enechukwu as waiting member.
Prosecution team prayed the court that the judge advocate should put himself out and give the accused officers the opportunity to object the sitting of the judge advocate, Col. Musa, who was said to be involved in the investigation of the accused officers.
But the defence counsel to Maj-Gen. Ibrahim said the observation made by the prosecution counsel was a mere academic exercise, saying that the defence counsel should be the one objecting and not the prosecution counsel.
He argued that the prosecution counsel has no right to object as the court has not been fully formed, adding that it was only when the court was fully formed that the court could entertain application.
In the same vein, the defence counsel to Maj-Gen. Patrick Falola, Wing Commander Enekola Onyilo rtd, said it was unnecessary for the judge advocate to put himself out to be objected because the accused have not complained.
Countering the defence, the prosecution counsel argued that the procedure should be followed in order not to create room for the defence counsel to capitalise on it by way of delay tactics in the course of the court proceedings.
In his ruling, the judge advocate refused to rule himself out, citing the rules of procedure in the Armed Forces Act.
The prosecution team informed the court that it intended to kick start with the case of Falola on May 9, which was not objected to by the defence counsel.
But the counsel to Sani prayed the court to order the prosecution counsel to serve it with every necessary documents needed to prepare fully for the defence of the accused officer.
The court therefore ordered the prosecution team to serve the defence team all necessary documents latest 24 hours before his arraignment.