Embattled 54 military officers sentenced to death for mutiny by the General Martial Court in Abuja in December 2014, yesterday filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja to halt the army authorities from killing them.
The suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/484/15, was filed out of fear that they could be killed at any time in spite of alleged non-compliance with the procedure stipulated in the law of the federation.
The Chief of Army Staff and the Nigerian Army are the first and second defendants in the suit which was filed on May 22, 2015.
The convicts argued through their counsel, Femi Falana, that it was illegal for the Army authorities to go ahead with their execution when the findings of the General Court Martial had not been promulgated.
They also argued, among other grounds, that until the confirmation or review of the findings of the court martial by the army authorities, the hearing and the determination of their appeal against the sentence, and the approval of the judgment by the President, the army cannot execute them.
They hinged their prayers in the suit on provisions of Section 36 (7) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sections 148, 149, 150, 151, 153, 164 175(3), and 192 of the Armed Forces Act (Cap A20) Laws of the Federation 2004.
An affidavit deposed to by Femi Adedeji, a lawyer at Femi Falana’s law firm, averred, “The defendants may carry out the death sentence passed on the Plaintiffs any moment from now.
“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has not approved the death sentence passed on the plaintiffs.
“As the defendants have not forwarded the record of proceedings to the President, he has not been able to consider the request of the Plaintiffs for remission of the death sentence on the plaintiffs.”
The deponent added that after their trial at Mogadishu Barracks, Abuja, the soldiers were transferred to the Counter Intelligence Command, Detention Centre, Apapa, Lagos, and their relatives have since been denied access to them.
A General Court Martial set up by the Army authorities had put 59 soldiers on trial on a two count of conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny on October 16, 2014.
The soldiers comprised two corporals, nine lance corporals, and 48 private soldiers belonging to the 111 Special Forces Battalion, Maiduguri, Borno State.
After three months of trial, the President of the Court, Brig. Gen. Musa Yusuf, found 54 out of the 59 soldiers guilty of the two offences and sentenced them to death by firing squad.

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