Quashes prison sentence
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Army Council has commuted the dismissal of Brig-Gen. Enitan Ransome-Kuti to a demotion to the rank of colonel with four years seniority.
It also quashed his six months imprisonment with immediate effect from October 15, 2015.
This decision was contained in a circular obtained by THISDAY wednesday dated March 1, 2016 and signed by Col. O. N. Taiwo on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
According to the circular, the council took the decision in its last meeting on February 22, 2016, after reviewing the judgment of the Special Court Martial (SCM) that tried Ransome-Kuti on a three-count charge for Failure to perform military duties and miscellaneous offences relating to service property.
The army had on October last year dismissed Brig-Gen. Ransome-Kuti, and sentenced him to six months imprisonment through General Court-Martial (GCM) by the Army Headquarters Garrison (AHQ), due to the alleged offences committed during his command of military operations in Baga Borno State, early this year.
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, who confirmed the decision, explained that the sentence was not due to acts of cowardice, which was struck out, but hinged on several other offences that depict unprofessional conducts.
He said: “I wish to confirm that one of the accused persons, Brigadier General EA Ransome-Kuti, was awarded the following punishments on the various count charges against him as follows:
The first count charge which was cowardly behaviour, was struck out but was found guilty on count charge number two, which was failure to perform military duties and was dismissed from the Nigerian army.”
The army spokesman had stated that Ransom-Kuti “was equally found guilty on count charge number three, which was miscellaneous offences relating to service property and was awarded six months imprisonment.”
However, the army council had in the latest circular commuted the dismissal to lower rank and quashed his incarceration, ordering that Ransome-Kuti be released and posted out of custody.
Meanwhile, Usman is yet to confirm and respond to the inquiries if the Army has complied with the circular titled: army council decision for Implementation: Brig-Gen. EA Ransome-Kuti (N/8301), with references: A. AHQ GAR/G1/300/47 dated 26 June 15; and B. HQ DLS/A/G1/300/54 dated February 26, 2016.
Part of the circular read: “A Special Court Martial (SCM) was convened vide reference A to try the above named senior officer. He was arraigned on a three-count charges for Failure to perform military duties and miscellaneous offences Relating to service property. He was tried but was discharged and acquitted on count 1. He was however found guilty on count 2 and 3 by the SCM that tried him. He was thus awarded dismissal from the army on count 2 and six months imprisonment on count 3.
“Consequently, I am directed to inform you that reference B has conveyed to this Headquarters that the army council in its last meeting on February 22, 2016, confirmed the conviction of the accused senior officer on count two but commuted the sentence of dismissal to reduction in rank from Brigadier-General to Colonel with four years seniority WEF October 15, 2015. The council also quashed the finding of guilt and the award of six months imprisonment by the SCM on count three and replaced same with finding of “not guilty”. The senior officer was thus discharged and acquitted on count three WEF October 15, 2015.
“Accordingly, I am directed to request AHQ GAR to release the senior officer from close custody. I am also to request AHQ MS to post him out of jurisdiction.”
Ransome-Kuti was accused of dereliction of duties, which allegedly led to the capture of Baga and newly acquired weaponry by the Boko Haram terrorists.
The senior officer who was represented by the Lagos-based lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), was also alleged to have upon investigations, failed to account for the arms and ammunition under his supervision.
Meanwhile, the army last night confirmed the decision to commute of Ransome-Kute to demotion.
While responding to THISDAY enquiries, the Director of Public Relations, AHQ Garrison, Col. Aliyu Yusuf, confirmed that decision of army council had commuted the conviction to demotion.