General Who Lost Barracks to Boko Haram Discharged, Acquitted

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court-martial-The trial by a military court martial of Brigadier General J. O. Akomolafe, who was the former Brigade Commander of HQ 21 Brigade, Bama in Borno State, has finally been concluded.

The officer was arraigned before the military court sitting at the 9 Brigade Officer’s Mess, Ikeja Military Cantonment in Lagos State over the loss of Mohammed Kur Barracks, Bama in Borno State to Boko Haram insurgents on September 1, 2014.

The court martial was convened and inaugurated by the then General Officer Commanding HQ 81 Division, Major General TI Dibi, now retired.

Akomolafe was charged and tried for cowardly behaviour, failure to perform military duty and loss of military properties, namely his staff car and four Hillux vehicles.

The officer, who was represented by Femi Falana (SAN) and Major Femi Oyebanji (rtd), successfully convinced the court that the loss of the location was due to lack of serviceable equipment, adequate ammunitions and personnel to repel the attack.

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The uncontroverted evidence adduced during the trial was that troops fought gallantly despite the limited resources available, but were overwhelmed by the superior firepower of the insurgents.

They therefore withdrew from the barracks because no further efforts could have prevented the location from falling.

 A shocking revelation during the trial was that the then General Officer Commanding HQ 7 Division, Major General M. Y. Ibrahim, had prior knowledge of the constraints of the HQ 21 Brigade, headed by Akomolafe, but he did not address them.

In fact, several requests for ammunitions replenishment for troops and repair teams to effect repairs of the equipments sent to him by Akomolafe were deliberately ignored or not granted.

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More shocking was the evidence that he got early information of the impending attack from the then former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General J. T. Minimah (rtd), but intentionally refused to pass the information to the brigade commander.

Also, a last minute appeal by Akomolafe to him a day before the attack for urgent equipment and ammunitions to fight and safeguard Bama was also denied.

Upon a review of the case, the court martial, headed by Major General S. D. Aliyu, upheld the submissions of the defence counsel and discharged and acquitted Akomolafe as he was found not guilty on each of the three count charges.

In his reaction to the judgment, General Akomolafe thanked God and his lawyers for saving his life and his career in the Nigerian Army.

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He was also full of gratitude to the members of the General Court Martial for their sense of justice.

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