Saturday 23rd September, 2017
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Rising cases of connubial murder and death sentences in the Armed Forces: Need to checkmate conjugal relationship amongst rank and file

Rising cases of connubial murder and death sentences in the Armed Forces: Need to checkmate conjugal relationship amongst rank and file

Incidence of murder of lover colleagues among junior military personnel is on the increase. The latest is the killing of an AirForce female personnel by her colleague lover for allegedly cheating on him. A 10-man General Court Martial sitting in Makurdi on Tuesday 15, 2017, handed down a death sentence to the accused ending the over four month legal battle. Defence Correspondent, ABDUL LAUYA, is this report recommends a military by-law prohibiting open connubial relationship among ranks and file of the military to check the rising menace.

A 10-man Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Gen­eral Court Martial (GCM), sitting in Makurdi on Tuesday, August 15, 2017, had sentenced Air Crafts­man Kalu Bernard to death by hanging for alleged kill­ing of his girl friend and colleague, Air craftwoman Solape Oladipupo. Twenty-one-year-old Kalu, had shot and killed Solape when he allegedly caught her on bed with another man on March 12, 2017, at the NAF base, Makurdi, Benue State. The incident occurred on Sun­day morning after the jealous lover accused her of double dating. Slain Solape hailed from Badagry and was mur­dered two weeks after cele­brating her birthday on Feb­ruary 26, 2017. One of the posts on her Fcaebook page, on her birthday reads: “God I thank you…… I have noth­ing to give you than to say thank you Jesus. I wish my self a long life and prosperity.
 
Kalu left a note explaining his actions, adding that he would also kill himself after he kills his girlfriend. He was arrested and detained by NAF authorities. The note reads: “It’s a privilege for me writing this note because it would be read by most of men.” “It’s a love story of a guy falling in love with a wrong witch who pretended to be good in my eyes and in the eyes of my loving mother. Am a simple guy who never partake in name various (nefarious) ac­tivities. Most individuals say I have a future here it is. Am a guy who pull two rounds in a witch and one round to my fucking body.” “For it is said he who kill by the sword shall die by it.” “Most idiot would insult me, yes! If I were to be in there shoes I would do the same likewise if they were to be in my shoe, they would even pull more than three rounds on the witch.”
 
The eight-count charges as listed by the Judge Advocate of the court, Flight Lt. M. A. Umoh, include murder, fail­ure to perform military duty, housebreaking and imper­sonation. Others included loss of service property, dis­obedience of service order and prejudice to service disci­pline. President of the court, Group Capt. Elisha Bindul, found the accused guilty in six, out of the eight-count charges preferred against him, and handed him a maximum death sentence by hanging. He, however, said that the sentence was subject to confirmation by the con­vening authority. NAN re­ports that the Defense coun­sel, Abimiku Ewuga, who had earlier prayed the court to temper justice with mercy in its sentence, said they will appeal the judgement if it was not commuted by the con­vening authority.
 
Similarly, in 20011, Van­guard reported that a Naval rating stabbed his girl friend to death, at Navy Town, Ojo, Lagos State. Identified simply as Harry, He, like Kalu was said to have engaged his girl friend, Itoya, a naval person­nel, in a fight over claims of infidelity.
 
The deceased met her un­timely death, when her boy­friend who had just returned from a Joint Task Force mis­sion in Jos, Plateau State, attacked her in their apart­ment, while she was sleep­ing and stabbed her severally while he also stabbed him­self. Neighbours who heard screams from the apartment rushed in only to find Itoya lying in a pool of blood. She was rushed to a naval hospi­tal in the base, but she died on the way to the hospital. Sources at the Navy Town Ojo at the time said that Har­ry, who sustained some in­juries during the scuffle, has also been placed under arrest at the Naval Hospital Ojo. Harry, sources said blamed his action on the devil.
 
Also, on January 23, 2016, NAN reported that a Nigeri­an soldier, Sunday Umaru, al­legedly killed his lover, Char­ity Thomas, on allegation of infidelity over a phone call she recieved. Umaru, a mar­ried private soldier was serv­ing at the Special Task Force (STF), sector 7, Barkin-Ladi, at the time of the incident. He was charged at a Barkin-Ladi High Court, Plateau State in March 2017.for stabbing his lover with a knife in the stomach and slaughtering her thereafter. Mr. Umaru at­tacked the woman who had arrived from Kaduna to visit him. He was first arraigned on July 14, 2016 on a one-count charge of culpable ho­micide.
 
The prosecutor, W.T Awe, of the Plateau State Ministry of Justice, at the arraignment, told the court that the Nige­rian Army had already court-martialed and dismissed the soldier after he was found guilty, and handed him over to the police for prosecution. He said the accused person had told the police, in a con­fessional statement, that the deceased visited him some­time in January 2016, after which they had a misunder­standing which led to her death. In his statement, he al­leged that the deceased used a kitchen knife to stab herself after which he (accused), re­moved the knife and `helped’ her to complete the act by slaughtering her.
 

In order to stem these ugly incidences in the Armed Forces, there is need to en­act a law or even a military standing order prohibiting conjugal relationship among the rank and file, being the cadre that is affected by the ugly incident. For instance, there is standing order in the miliatry that officers should not fraternise or marry other ranks while she or he is still in the service. This regulation is taken seriously by both cad­res and no officer dares break it as it attracts severe santions. This is one of the measures put in place to ensure dis­cipline and regimentation in the Armed Forces. In the same vein, banning intimate relationships among soldiers would help check rivalry and nnedless loss of lives. This law should form part of courses to be taught at basic military training schools just like as­sault, fighting, use of foul lan­guage, defilement, adultery, sodomy, cruelty etc. The of­fence should also constitute one of the dismissal offences just like other capital offences in the Armed Forces Act.  

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