Convicted soldiers sue FG over illegal detention, demand N1.3bn compensation
Soldiers convicted by military courts at different times for various offences on Wednesday challenged their illegal detention at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
In a fundamental human rights suit filed on their behalf by one Mrs. Funmi Falana, the 66 soldiers demanded N1.3billion compensation from the Federal Government over their illegal detention.
The applicants include Andrew Ogolekwu, Corporal Saturday Efe, Lance Corporal Henry Shuaibu, Lance Corporal Jaimes Maifada, Lance Corporal Ndubuisi Sebastine, Lance Corporal Dauda Dalhatu, Lance Corporal Kasega Aoso and Lance Corporal Joshua Friday.
The soldiers were arraigned before a military court for mutiny, criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny, attempted murder, disobedience to particular orders, insubordinate behaviour and false accusations contrary to the Armed Forces Act and sentenced to death in December 2014.
The death sentence was later commuted to 10 years imprisonment each.
Listed as respondents in the suit were the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and, the Controller-General of Nigeria Correctional Service, Ja’afaru Ahmed.
In the application, the soldiers claimed they qualified for amnesty based on a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari that certain categories of people, including those who have spent 75 percent of their sentence should be released.
They urged the court to declare that their continued detention in Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centre, Lagos, despite the amnesty granted them by the president, as illegal and unconstitutional as it violates their right to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 35 of the constitution.
The applicants also sought an order directing the respondents to release them from the prison immediately in compliance with the April 9 amnesty granted by the president pursuant to the Prerogative of Mercy under Section 175 of the constitution.
They also asked the court to direct the respondents to pay them N20million each as compensation for the violation of their fundamental right to liberty and freedom from discrimination against their person.