Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has written President Muhammadu Buhari to pardon 70 soldiers convicted of mutiny during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, just as it pardons repentant Boko Haram members.
Falana said this in a letter dated August 25, 2021 titled, ‘Request to Grant Pardon to 70 Convicted Soldiers’.
He recalled that the troops demanded for arms and armament from the military authorities to defend the country but they were punished.
“Instead of attending to such legitimate demand, the military authorities accused scores of the soldiers of sabotaging the counter insurgency operations of the Federal Government and proceeded to set up courts-martial to try them for mutiny.
“We defended 58 soldiers while the remaining 12 were defended by other colleagues before the Courts-Martial which sat in Abuja. At the end of the trials in August and December 2014, the Courts-Martial jailed some of the soldiers and sentenced 70 others to death for mutiny,” Falana said.
He added that in convicting the 70 soldiers, the courts martial failed to appreciate that the demand for weapons by the soldiers was justified under section 179 of the Armed Forces Act, (Cap A20) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 which permits a soldier, rating or aircraftman to make a complaint to his commanding officer and that he shall not be penalised for having made a complaint so far as the complaint does not contravene any provisions of the Act.