Brig-General E. A. Ransome-Kuti, who was court-martialed and convicted of showing cowardice during the Boko Haram attack, has appealed his conviction stating that, other alleged subordinate officers in the Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNJTF, charged and tried alongside with him for the same offences were discharged and acquitted, whereas he was unreasonably convicted by the Special Court-Martial.
His Counsel, Femi Falana (SAN) said: We want to observe that the conviction and sentence passed on our client by the SCM are fundamentally wrong, unjust and illogical because the discharge and acquittal of our client on the charge of cowardly behaviour which was the tripod on which the charge of failure to perform military duty and miscellaneous offences relating to property rested, ought to have brought the whole trial to an end.
"This is because it was the dislodgement of MNJTF from Baga, Borno State, that brought the two charges of failure to perform military duty and miscellaneous offences relating to property to life. It is therefore our contention that the court having ruled that the withdrawal from Baga was legally justified, ought to have discharged and acquitted our client on the remaining charges as well.
"The obvious fact is that if the troops had not withdrawn from Baga, no service property would have been abandoned and the allegation of failure to perform military duty by failing to co-ordinate troops and assets of HQ MNJTF to repel the Boko Haram terrorists attack on HQ MNJTF would not have arisen.
"It was very clear from the preponderance of evidence adduced during the trial by the prosecution and defence witnesses that HQ MNJTF Baga lacked adequate weapons to repel the attack. Thus, the abandonment of the location after a fierce resistance by troops for several hours before their eventual withdrawal was not intentional. It was a decision taken when it became obvious that no further efforts could prevent the place from falling."
By Chika Jones