Army court martial demotes Major General

Chidi Samuel

A Special Court Martial of the Nigerian Army on Friday convicted  the Director, 68 Reference Hospital, Yaba, in Lagos State, Major General Patrick Falola for unlawfully admitting students for clinical training without due clearance from army headqauters and subsequently demoted him to the rank of Brigadier General.

Major General Falola  was charged for admitting international students from Espan Formation University, Cotonou in Benin Republic between July and September, 2016.

Delivering judgment in the case, President of the Special Court Martial, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, sentenced the accused officer to a reduction in rank from Major General to Brigadier General on count one of the charge.

He was, however, discharged and acquitted of the second count of fraudulent misapplication of the hospital’s property.

Wing Commander Enokela Onyilo-Uloko [Rtd], lawyer to the accussed, criticised the conviction, saying it was a premeditated and an attempt to rubbish the unblemished record of his client in an interview with Channels Television.

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“On hearing of this kind of conviction, we know that it is based on nothing. There is no law, no instruction put on the ground by the armed forces that the senior officer needs to take permission from the higher authority before allowing such training.

“No such law or instruction was tendered in evidence, but they are saying that he should use his initiative.

“When there is no law criminalising an act, when that act is done, it does not amount to criminal offence,” the lawyer said.

He further vowed to appeal the judgment of the Special Court Martial.

The judgement of the Army Court Martial is subject to confirmation by the Nigerian Army Council.