The trial of Ransome-Kuti continued yesterday after an initial stall due to the changes in the leadership of the military which led to speculations that the general courts- martial would be halted.
According to reports, a lawyer, Maj. Femi Oyebanji, who held the brief for top Lagos lawyer Falana, had urged the Maj.Gen. O.E. Ekanem-led panel to close down the court on the strength of the directive by the new CDS.
But the panel was said to have replied that it had not received such instruction from the army authorities.
The Nigerian Army had on June 29 reportedly arraigned Ransome-Kuti and four other top officers for various military offences they allegedly committed during an attack by Boko Haram on Baga, Borno State, in January 2015.
They were accused of cowardly behaviour, failure to perform military duties and miscellaneous offences relating to loss of armament.
Other accused persons in the charge sheet, obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, are Col. O.C. Ajunwa, Lt.-Col. A Haruna, Lt.-Col. G.A. Suru and Maj. A. A. Malgwi.
They allegedly committed the offences at the headquarters of the Multi-National Joint Task Force in Baga, Borno State, when the place was overrun by Boko Haram on January 3, 2015.
There Was No Order Stopping General Court Martial – Army
Meanwhile, there has been no directive stopping the sitting of the general court-martial trying officers and soldiers for offences committed in the ongoing war against terrorism in the North East.
Army spokesman, Col Sani Kukasheka Usman, dismissed the story while reacting to an unconfirmed report that the new Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Gabriel Abayomi Olonisakin, had given the order.
LEADERSHIP reports that a former commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, Brig.-Gen. Enitan Ransome-Kuti, and others are being prosecuted for various military offences and appeared before the court-martial sitting at Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja, yesterday.
Usman said: “There was never a time such a directive was given; what happened was a directive for the review of some disciplinary actions and not a recall for any of the dismissed officers or soldiers.”
Speaking further with our correspondent last night, the acting director of public relations said: “I do not know from where they got their story; what I know is there was never a time when an order stopping the general court-martial was given. What happened was a directive for the reviewing of some disciplinary actions but not a directive to stop the general court-martial,” he said.
Attempts made to get the view of the acting director of information, Defence Headquarters, Col Rabe Abubakar, did not yield any desired result as he did not pick his call or respond to the sms sent to his phone.
The continuation of the trial is contrary to the directive of the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Maj.-Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, for the immediate dissolution of the military courts across the country.