The trial by a military court martial of Brig Gen JO Akomolafe who was the former Brigade Commander of HQ 21 Bde Bama in Borno State has finally been concluded. The officer was arraigned before the military court sitting in 9 brigade officer’s mess, Ikeja military cantonment over the loss of Mohammed Kur Barracks, Bama in Borno State to Boko Haram insurgents on 1 September 2014. The said court martial was convened and inaugurated by the then General Officer Commanding HQ 81 Division, Maj Gen TI Dibi rtd. He was charged and tried for cowardly behavior; failure to perform military duty; and loss of military properties namely his staff car and four Hillux vehicles.
The officer who was represented byMr 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. 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, Maj Gen MY Ibrahim had prior knowledge of the constraints of the HQ 21 Bde headed by Brig Gen JO 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 Brig Gen JO Akomolafe were deliberately ignored or not granted. More shocking was the evidence that he got early information of the impending attack from the then former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen JT Minimah rtd but intentionally refused to pass the information to the brigade commander. Also, a last minute appeal by Brig Gen JO 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 Maj Gen SD Aliyu upheld the submissions of the defence counsel and discharged and acquitted Brig Gen JO Akomolafe as he was found not guilty on each of the 3 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. He was also full of gratitude to the members of the General Court Martial for their sense of justice.