By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
Six Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel, who were aides to the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Late Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, have been convicted by the General Court Martial (GCM) for laxity that led to his murder.
In a press release, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force, said the Court martial sat at the NAF Base, Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja.
He said the 6 convicted personnel are Squadron Leader Tom Gwani, Flight Sergeant Amu David, Flight Sergeant Philemon Degema, Flight Sergeant Sabo Simon, Sergeant Mukhtar Abdullahi and Sergeant Alfred Alexander.
“Four of the personnel were detailed to provide armed escort for Late Air Chief Marshal Badeh, while 2 others were detailed for guard duty at his house on 18 December 2018 when the former CDS was ambushed and killed by some gunmen on his way back from his farm along Gitata-Keffi Highway in Nasarawa State.
“Delivering his judgment, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore David Aluku, pronounced the 6 accused personnel guilty of various charges including Failure to Perform Military Duties, by absconding from the convoy of the deceased former CDS while it came under attack, as well as Conduct to the Prejudice of Service Discipline, for giving false statements.
“The charges against the accused also included other Civil Offences of Criminal Conspiracy and Miscellaneous Offences Relating to Property, for illegally disposing of 79 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition issued for the protection of the late CDS, among others. On the count of Aiding and Abetting, 2 of the personnel were found not guilty, while the other 4 personnel who were detailed to provide armed escort were handed various sentences.
“While pleading in mitigation, the Defence Counsels urged the Court to show leniency, describing the accused persons as first time offenders. The sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority.”