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How Nigerian Army Sentenced Me To Death, Still Threatening To Kill Me
Olawale Omolewa, a Nigerian soldier, has narrated that the army authorities refused to pay him his benefits after serving the country for 18 years, over some charges levelled against him and his colleagues while fighting in the North-East theatre of operation, according to SaharaReporters.
Omolewa, in a save-our-soul message to SaharaReporters, stated that a Federal Court of Appeal in Abuja had declared him and other soldiers discharged and acquitted going by the efforts of human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana.
The soldier, who hails from Ayede Ikale, Local Government Area of Ondo State, and others had been accused of mutiny in 2013 when they fled before the Boko Haram terrorists in the Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State during a fatal attack.
Omolewa said he was locked up in a military dungeon for about two years during his trial before his freedom in 2019, but the military authorities had yet to pay his allowances since 2013 when he joined the service.
He said, “In the year 2003 I was posted to Jaji, Kaduna State. Later in 2008, I was transferred to Jos, Plateau State. I had been discharging my duties legally. In 2011, I was selected among the soldiers who were to go to Maiduguri, Borno State.
“In the Gubio LGA, we were asked to go for an attack on September 12, 2013. So, while we were still at the camp preparing to advance for the attack, the Nigerian Air Force came with an Alpha Jet to bombard the Boko Haram terrorists while we would mop up the remaining ones who were still alive.
“So, we started advancing. Suddenly, the Alpha Jet was nowhere to be found again, so we lost the battle that day. The Boko Haram killed 38 of our men that day. The remaining of us ran back to camp. When we got to the camp on the next day, the Brigade Commander came to address us at the camp. So, after his address, I raised up my hands to ask questions which the commander permitted. Then I said, what happened that the Alpha Jet was not with us?
“So he answered by saying that we should not mind the air force and that was how they conducted themselves to make the army fail in battle. So, the soldiers started grumbling because of the loss of lives and they began to shoot in the air, so the commander ran away that day. I was redeployed to a town called Damasak and was there, carrying out my duty until October 21, 2013, when the military police came to the camp to arrest me.”
The soldier narrated that he was arrested for asking questions on the day which led to the mutiny among the soldiers.
He continued, “I was court-martialled and by God’s grace, Femi Falana stood as my defence counsel. At the end of the court martial, we were given death sentence. On December 24, 2014, we were sent to the Department of Military Intelligence directory at Apapa, Lagos, in an underground detention. I was there with underwear for 22 months. Later, the death sentence was revised to 10 years imprisonment.
“So, we were moved from DMI to the Maximum Security Prison, Kirikiri, Lagos. My course mates and I were serving the jail terms, and while there, I enrolled at the National Open University to study Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution.
“On May 30, 2019, a judgment came from the Nigerian Federal Court of Appeal, Abuja, that we had been discharged and acquitted. Since then, the army refused to give me my benefits after serving the army for over 18 years. They are even threatening to kill me.”