The Nigerian army has commenced the trial of former General Officer Commanding 8-Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Hakeem Otiki, for allegedly ordering five soldiers to escort four hundred million naira from Sokoto to Kaduna.
The Nigerian Army had on July 21 begun the quizzing of the former GOC over missing N400m allegedly stolen by escort soldiers in the division. The former GOC had been interrogated by the Directorate of Military Intelligence, the Special Intelligence Bureau and the Nigerian Army Corps of Military Police.
Five soldiers had been confirmed to have carted away a consignment containing the money while on an escort duty from Sokoto State to Kaduna State in July. The money was to be delivered to a “Very Important Personality” in Kaduna.
The army’s spokesman in 8 Division, Lieutenant Audu Arigu,had identified the runaway soldiers as Corporal Gabriel Oluwaniyi, Corporal Mohammed Aminu, one Corporal Haruna, Oluji Joshua and Hayatudeen. Army sources said the runaway soldiers perfected their escape by turning in their rifles and their mobile phones at the Infantry Corps in Jaji, Kaduna State, on the day of theft before they escaped.
The President of the Court Martial, Lieutenant General Lamidi Adeosun read out the order establishing the court martial and its composition.
However, the defence argued that a bitter rivalry was at the root of the scandal and the man appointed to lead the court-martial, Lamidi Adeosun,a lieutenant-general, was not suited for purpose because of a conflict of interest.
At this point, journalists were asked to leave the premisesand the Court Martial went into a closed session.