The Nigerian Army has yet to apprehend five runaway soldiers attached to the 8 Division, Sokoto State, who fled with over N100m operational money since July 2019.
A top source alleged that the soldiers were being shielded by some forces within and outside the army. The personnel were identified as Corporal Gabriel Oluwaniyi, Corporal Mohammed Aminu, Corporal Haruna, Oluji Joshua and Hayatudeen O.
Already, a General Court Martial which sat in Abuja and presided over by the Nigerian Army Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt Gen Lamidi Adeosun, on June 16 ordered the dismissal of a former General Officer Commanding of the division, Maj Gen Hakeem Otiki, over the alleged diversion.
Our correspondent learnt that the Nigerian Army Council would be meeting by September to review the judgment. According to military procedures, the council will decide whether to approve or upturn the GCM’s judgment handed over to the embattled general.
A top source said, “Otiki is due to retire by December 2020. He and Adeosun had once been tipped to succeed the Chief of Army Staff, because of their seniority and records. Otiki was the Commander, Infantry Corps in Jaji, Kaduna State, before he was appointed the 8 Division GOC in March 2019.
“There is evidence indicating that some of the soldiers who stole the money had been in connivance with some politicians before and during the 2019 elections in Sokoto State. They might have acted in cooperation with politicians who wanted to see the downfall of Otiki for whatever reason. The army council will be meeting in September to review the judgment handed over to Otiki, after which he may proceed to the Court of Appeal if he is still not satisfied.”
The Nigerian Army Council comprises four people: the Minister of Defence and Chairman of Council, Maj Gen Bashir Magashi (retd); the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Abayomi Olonisakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai; and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence who is Secretary of Council, Mr Sabi’u Zakari.