The appearance of Major-General Hakeem Otiki, former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division, Nigerian Army, Sokoto, before General Court Marshall (GCM), on wheel chair, has reportedly stunned the panel
The GCM, inaugurated on Tuesday, was said to have adjourned following the “fake” ill-health displayed by the suspect who came to the court in a wheel chair.
It was gathered that members of the eight-man panel headed by Lt-Gen Lamidi Adeosun were shocked to see their colleague who had been certified medically fit by army doctors in one of the Medical Reception Station (MRS) in the barracks.
It was gathered that before the trial date of September 17, the authorities had recommended that the senior officer be taken for medical check-up to ascertain his medical status to determine whether or not he is fit for trial. Doctors reportedly gave him a clean bill of health.
It was also gathered that on the day of the trial, the senior officer was again sent for another medical evaluation where he was again confirmed medically fit before he was brought to the Army Headquarters Command Officers Mess venue of the trial.
However, on getting to the premises, the officer was said to have feigned “sudden illness” and told the medical staff who were mostly soldiers that he could not walk, thus forcing them to wheel him into the hall.
Sources told Daily Sun that the court members who did not want to be “deceived” by the drama went ahead to inaugurate the court.
But seeing that the panel members would not bulge, the senior officer raised the alarm that he did not have confidence in the president of the panel, who he claimed had an interest in the matter.
Besides, he also told the court through his counsel that since he was senior to the president of the GCM, the outcome of the judgment may not be in his favour.
It was gathered that the court struck out the argument on grounds that it had no basis in law. The court opined that being senior to General Adeosun at the point of entry into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) was not sufficient reason to remove Adeosun as president of the court.
The GCM argued that the seniority of officer was based on rank adding that as a newly promoted Lt-General in the Nigerian army, Adeosun was eminently qualified to head the GCM.
With the adjournment, it is expected that the case would be an interesting one as the court is expected to determine the real source of the money and where it was being transported to before the soldiers made away with the loot.
Although the charge sheet containing the offence has not been read to the former GOC, Daily Sun gathered that the court was relying on the outcome of the recommendations and findings of the Board of Inquiry (BoI) set up by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Ge Tukur Buratai, to investigate the missing money to confront the senior officer.
It was gathered that while some were saying that the money may not be unconnected to the proceeds made from illegal mining, others say it belonged to the Nigeria Army.
It is expected that the court would reveal the real source of the money at the end of the GCM, as it has lined up several witnesses to testify during the trial.
Meanwhile, the former GOC has been returned to his detention centre at the Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB) located at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Barracks, Abuja.