Former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Nigerian Army’s, 8 Division, Sokoto, Maj. Gen Hakeem Otiki is being court-martialed over an alleged stolen N400 million by some soldiers under his command.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai, while inaugurating the General Court Martial on Tuesday in Abuja, said the trial was in line with the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation 2004.
The General Court Martial is presided over by the Nigerian Army’s Chief of Policy and Plans, Maj.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun.
Members of the court are Maj.-Gen. A.A Tarfa from the Headquarters Training and Doctrine Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. F.O Agugo from Department of Army Transformation and Innovation and Maj.-Gen. J.S Malu from the Headquarters Nigerian Army Engineers.
Others are Maj.-Gen. M.A. Muhammed from the Headquarters Nigerian Army Signal, Maj.-Gen. C.T Olukuju from Land Forces Stimulation Centre while Maj.-Gen. C.C Okonkwo will serve as a waiting member.
The Nigerian Army had on July 21 begun the quizzing of the former GOC, the missing N400 million said to have been 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 to Kaduna states in the first week of July 2019.
The money was allegedly to be delivered to a Very-Important Personality in Kaduna.
The army’s spokesman in 8 Division, Lieutenant Audu Arigu, had confirmed the incident, adding that investigation had commenced into the incident.
He 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.
On September 5, our correspondent had reported that Otiki was undergoing a course at the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, Badagry, Lagos State.
The acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, had confirmed this to our correspondent through a chat, when asked the whereabouts of the major general.
When asked where Maj Gen Hakeem Otiki was, the army spokesman, Musa replied, “Posted to ASCON on course.”
The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, had on July 23 assured during a press conference that the outcome of the ongoing investigations on the former GOC would be made public.
On Tuesday, the military formally began the trial of Otiki, as sources said he was summoned from Lagos State to undergo the court process.
There was, however, drama at the general court-martial as the Okechukwu Adinu, lawyer to the defendant, Otiki, said he was not comfortable to have Lt Gen Lamidi Adeosun head the court, as he was an interested party in the case.
Adinu asked that Adeosun recuse himself from the trial